photo courtesy of the artist
The percussive clacking of typewriters makes for strange music in Mat Kubo’s piece No Talking, Just Typing. Compared to the sleek and (relatively) silent smartphones and tablets of 2014, these burly word-processors feel archaic. Kubo has miked their mechanical racket, creating a din within the small gallery space. For his performance at the Mariago Collective, the artist will conduct typed conversations with his viewing public. These exchanges can range from banal to humorous to personal. The elaborate and self-conscious staging creates just enough theater for “typers” to let their guard down. Here’s my attempt to get Kubo to do the same:
AS: A lot of your work involves public interactions. Since you can’t control the reactions of strangers, how do you prepare for a certain level of unpredictability in a piece?
MK: I sit in silence and type with myself. I have some theoretical outcomes, but the unexpected is often the highlights; and though some can be uncomfortable, I appreciate being able to navigate through.
Liza Littlefield types with Mat Kubo. Photo courtesy of the artist.
AS: Most people’s idea of an artist is a someone toiling away alone in a studio. How would you describe your “studio practice?”
MK: My studio is more of an office. It’s ideas in there. The best work comes from collaborating with the community.
AS: What is the most essential tool or piece of technology that you use?
MK: Gerber multitool. Several pocket knives. Sakura Micron 05. MacBook Pro. iPhone 5s. They all have value. I need as much analog as digital.
AS: Do you ever get “stage” fright? If so, how do you cope?
MK: All the time. Stage fright is given for me, I have to accept and welcome the anxiety. If you can do that, you’re untouchable
Contracts and Action Items is on view at the Mariago Collective until April 24. The exhibit features Mat Kubo, Justin Parr, and Mark Harold Ponder.
A gorgeous video of No Talking, Just Typing by Brandon Ray: