Studio Visit: Danielle Langdon
Danielle is an artist, designer, and educator based out of Missouri. Her work can be seen in PLEAT's April 2015 exhibition "Sequential" as well as vimeo.com/dalangdon.
How has your artistic practice changed over the years?
There have been some pretty significant shifts over the course of my art career. I started making art in high school, which is when I thought I wanted to be a landscape architect, so I took architecture and commercial art classes. In college I decided to major in media communications and dance, so during those 4 years I expressed myself more through movement and video. Then after college I worked for an architecture firm doing graphic design. It wasn’t until graduate school at the University of Missouri when I really started to combine all of these experiences into an artistic practice using video as my medium. Today, I am continuing to explore how these various interests can be expressed in my work.
What role do you think humor plays in your work?
Humor plays a significant role in my work. I don’t necessarily make these videos with a deliberately humorous point of view, it happens more spontaneously. My point of view is actually quite critical, but introducing some humor during the filming process, allows for a more subtle presentation of the critique. When an artist uses anger or shock-value to convey an opinion, we are very conscious of that, which is the whole point. Humor, on the other hand, can help present a point-of-view more subtly in the background while also allowing for layered meaning. In my New Pedestrian videos, I didn’t want to come off as a technological determinist – I am not against smart phones. I am instead interested in how smart phones have become a significant player in our rituals. Through these absurd and artificial constructions of everyday life, I attempt to present the viewer with a space to reflect on their own habits.
Can you describe how the tone of your work connects to you personally?
I think the tone in the work reflects my questioning of new societal norms associated with smart phone technology. Before I got my smart phone I did not understand what all the hype was about – I had a computer and a cell phone, why would I need a smart phone? I also remember laughing at my friends’ willingness to pull out their phones with the first sign of a question or the first lull in conversation. That all changed however, when I got my Samsung Galaxy S3. I was overcome by its capabilities and at how quickly I adapted to having those features at my fingertips. It made everything easier! Nonetheless, I couldn’t help but wonder, is this costing me more than my monthly bill? How is this technology really affecting my emotions, my body, and my relationships? Do the positives outweigh the negatives? How can we have so much control and yet lose so much freedom? I was certainly not the first person to ask these questions, and that is where this research began.