Some of Michael Guppy’s pieces are funny (haha), some are obscure (and great with it), but what they all have in common is a quiet fascination with the viewer and our expectations. With a degree in graphic design from Camberwell College of Art the Dorset-born boy has always, as he puts it, “been interested in science and technology, but I’m not smart enough to understand all the math-y parts so my attention focused on the social/cultural side of technology…”
“The web is a perfect example of how technology transforms society, and we’re right amidst it. This is where the main influence for my work stems from, examining how we interact with the web and how it might change.” This interactivity takes the form of a sort of suspended understanding – of why your screen is moving without aid, or why a famous painting has been interfered with and all that is left is an empty, but active, selection. "Although it never ends up being that serious, I tend to go with the more playful ideas.”
If your portfolio was on fire, and you could only save one piece/project, which would you choose, and why?
Fortunately my work escapes the fire problem, as it’s all online… although the equivalent I suppose would be a virus that deletes everything off my hard drive and off the server my website is on. Hypothetically though, my favourite piece I’ve done this year is the Most Viewed Image on the Internet. I put it in our internal show at Camberwell and it kind of looked like a broken piece of work, until you read the title and it makes sense. I also enjoyed peoples’ reactions ranging from irritation to bemusement!
If you could collaborate with another artist/designer (or a number of artists/designers) to make a piece of work, who would you work with and what would you make?
I’ve had this idea for a while of starting an online art school, so you can subscribe to certain lectures from artists/designers and get briefs based on your interests. It would be a bit like an online game, so you would have your avatar and you’d have to log in at certain times of day to go to lectures. For the tutors/lecturers I’d want John Maeda, Jon Rafman, Krist Wood, Ryder Ripps, Parker Ito, Nicolas Carr, Tabor Rabok, Clay Shirky and Dragan Espenchied. Then at the end you just have to pay a certain amount to have your work marked and then you’d get a degree. That wouldn’t cost £9,000 a year, right?
What was your finest moment at art school?
This year, handing in my final portfolio as a mug with my web address on.
We believe it was The Jonas Brothers who once said: “We’re the kids of the future.” How, if at all, do you relate to that?
I suppose what The Jonas Brothers meant was, we’re just as important as any generation if not more, so don’t screw it up…however…if The Jonas Brothers really are the kids of the future, then we’re all fucked.
Can you give us one prediction about you and your work for the next year?
The internet will have been upgraded so all the work I’ve done this year wouldn’t work…