Nia Burks

Nia Burks (b. 1984) is an American artist who works with the social web and popular culture.

ptr-Nia BurksShe received her MA from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2007 and her MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2009, where she was the recipient of a full time graduate assistantship. Her work was featured on Rhizome at the New Museum and Creativity Online’s “Pick Of The Day” shortly after the creation of Angry Gamers in 2010.  In addition, her research and artwork related to online interconnectivity and performance is published in the book “ONLINE TERRITORIES, Globalization, Mediated Practice and Social Space” (Peter Lang Publishing, forthcoming).



The work comes as the result of the artist’s process of content curation--- the organization and arrangement of User Generated Content on Social Networking Sites. By recontextualizing and rearranging already existing data, it is transformed and, gains new meaning. Our culture’s desire for the archive, combined with ideas of self-celebrity, originality, proof of existence, and boredom result in a gluttonous and rich world of self generated imagery. With the willful rejection of the roles that privacy, exclusivity, and forgetting play in our culture, the content of the social web is, ostensibly, available for all to consume. What is real or fake? Why do we participate? Why do we record images with the intent to mass distribute? What does it mean? The world of Social Media holds the greatest potential for diversity that humans have ever known. The art practice and investigation illustrates the power of sameness and homogeny (with the ability to get lost in details) in our online behavior within this social environment.

Nia Burks

 



 


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Exhibtion: Standardized Authenticity (Statement)

The social web is inherently disconnected from the physical self. The ways in which we use User Generated Content sites fall into two primary categories: situations in which our detachment is exemplified, and those that desperately strive for connection. They sometimes have clear boundaries, and other times our web activity exists in a dualistic state, unable to discern itself between the two classifications. The work aims to explore the bond that exists between the subject and camera operator (which is sometimes the same person) and the viewer and the videotaped space/event. The goal is to investigate the point in time in which a person in a video ceases to be a subject and transforms into an object.
 

Das Social Web ist naturgemäß vom physischen Selbst losgelöst. Betrachtet man jedoch die Art und Weise, wie Webseiten mit nutzergenerierten Inhalt verwenden werden, könnte man sie in zwei Hauptkategorien unterteilen: einerseits gibt es Situationen in denen diese Trennung beispielhaft dargestellt wird und andererseits gibt es welche, in denen eine Anbindung verzweifelt angestrebt wird. In manchen Fällen sind die Grenzen klar zu erkennen, in anderen Fällen jedoch befindet sich unsere Webaktivität in einem dualistischen Stadium, das weder der einen noch der anderen Klassifizierung zurechnet werden kann. Die Intention der Kunstwerke ist es demnach die vorhandene Verbindung zwischen Subjekt und Kameramann/frau (in vielen Fällen ist das dieselbe Person) einerseits und Betrachter und Videoaufnahme des Raumes/Veranstaltung andererseits zu erkunden.

 

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Angry Gamers (2010)
03'03'', Editions 5 + 2AP


Angry Gamers examines fixation with social media, gaming and ultimately, our emotional interconnectivity as a populace through these mediums in the digital age. Angry Gamers aims to contribute to the next page of a dialogue within the digital world regarding our concept of reality. Emotional absorption into “virtual” worlds calls into question what the meaning of “virtual” actually is. Code, binary and pixels are not real in the same way the senses are real. Our senses can offer us corporal tangibility. However, bodily reactions and immersion in the culture of social media — and its content along with the relationships that are created with others who also participate in it — are physically real. Is reality and its effects on the self limited to situations of the physical world?


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Pretty or Ugly (2012)
01'56'', Editions 5 + 2AP



 

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Official Grind (2012)
02'29'', Editions 5 + 2AP

 

This intrinsic need for connectivity presents itself in a more primal way in “Official Grind”, where young men from all over the United States collectively perform exceedingly sexual choreographed routines for the viewing pleasure of their (highly presumed) female counterpart. The biological display of desire in the form of dance invites the distant viewer, who is obviously not always female, to look anonymously, free of the demand for accountability and their own ownership of sexuality.

 

Dieses inhärente Bedürfnis nach Verbundenheit zeigt sich noch grundlegender im Video “Official Grind”, in dem junge Männer aus unterschiedlichen Gegenden der Vereinigten Statten kollektiv äußerst sexuelle choreographierte Routinen für den visuellen Genuss eines (sehr stark vorausgesetzten) weiblichen Gegenübers, vortragen. Das als Tanz dargestellte biologische Begehren lädt den entfernten Betrachter ein, der natürlich nicht nur weiblich sein kann, anonym zuzuschauen, ohne Rechenschaft über die eigene Sexualität einzufordern.

 

 

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Leave a Comment (2012)
00'59'', Editions 5 + 2AP


is collection of video bloggers, who directly ask for feedback with regards to their post’s subject. Not only is this three-word request evidence of the awareness of the video’s home on the web, but the occasional hand motion downward suggests an astute awareness of the YouTube interface, from which the source video’s are all appropriated. This awareness blurs the faint line between exemplified physical detachment (being “inside” of YouTube), and the need for connectivity intrinsic to all humans.

Leave a Comment“ (Hinterlasse eine Nachricht) besteht aus einer Reihe von Videobloggern, die um direktes Feedback zu den Inhalten ihrer Posts bitten. Diese aus drei Worten bestehende Bitte ist nicht nur Beweis für ein Bewusstsein für die Beheimatung des Videos im Web, sondern die gelegentliche Handbewegung nach unten deutet gleichzeitig auf ein raffiniertes Bewusstsein für das Vorhandensein der YouTube Schnittstelle hin, der Quelle, aus der all die angeeigneten Videos stammen. Dadurch wird die feine Linie zwischen der dargestellten physischen Trennung (man ist ‚auf‘ YouTube) und dem Bedürfnis nach Verbundenheit, die allen Menschen innewohnt, verwischt.

 

 

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Booty Meat (2011) Entering      + Booty Meat (2011) Exiting
00'36'', Editions 5 + 2AP
00'35'', Editions 5 + 2AP


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Rot für Zinédine Zindae
00'51'', Editions 5 + 2AP

 

 




Photo / C-prints

Nia Burks collects Facebook Profile Pics of individuals over a period of time, layering  them up and merge them into one print. Every layer shows the same person but a new Facebook profile picture. The result is an astonisching example about how people publish themselves on social media.


The #newdefault Series  The need for a double-take and the desire for attention has yielded a mass of people who change their Facebook default photo with a religious regularity. For some, this has become common and expected practice within the social web. Succumbing to the need for human interaction and validation of the physical self in the virtual space, the default profile image is supposedly ever changing.
Logging in to inspect the volume of comments and clicks of the “Like” button on the new image provides support and confirmation of our existence as an individual that others find physically attractive or, at the very least, interesting. The change notification in the News Feed in combination with the “Like” button has shifted social networking into a different space; one that becomes almost impossible to avoid viewing, and feeds the insecurity of the collective captive audience in a beautiful way.

    

   

    




The most notable component in the formula for one’s continuous change of profile photo is that it rarely changes. The user’s knowledge of the physical self, in a way that no other generation has ever known them- selves, has given the web a collection of images, ranging a span of many years. In many cases, the environ- ment, wardrobe, and occasional accessory is the only shifting element in ones default photo. The newness and duration of physical time may be somewhat clear upon detailed inspection; however, the angle, compo- sition, and expression are formulaic with the concrete knowledge of what “looks good”, presumably to the audience, and certainly to the self. When these images are digitally stacked and equally reduced in opacity, they reveal a ghost-like representation of the individual user in a consistent manner.

The ever-present arm’s length distance of the camera suggests that the individual is alone, perhaps having regular and private sessions with themselves and the lens. They are the subject and the photographer. In addition to this dualistic approach to self representation, the snapshot aesthetic functions as tableau, as the user has actually become a mobile mini studio ready to stop time in a precise and rehearsed manner. 


*Interested in buying this C-Prints? Prints are available in our ACI-Shop


 

MFA 2009 Photography and Film (Specialization: Video, Internet and Society) Virginia Commonwealth University
MA 2007 Digital Arts (Specialization: Feminist Film Theory)Maryland Institute College of Art
BFA 2006 Sculpture and Extended Media and Art History (magna cum laude) Virginia Commonwealth University


Professional and Teaching Experience

 

2011 
Research Assistant, Performer for Reynold Reynolds production 'Die Verloren', Berlin, Germany

Docent, Translator for English Language, Production Assistant and artist’s assistant for Ursula Endlicher.
Transmediale Festival, Berlin Germany Freelance Photographer, Hopewell Times, Hopewell, Va
2010 
Full Time Studio Photographer, Strawbridge Studios via Henrico CountySchools, Richmond, Va

Associate Blogger, Urlesque.com, AOL Time Warner, New York, Ny

Photographic Assistant, Thomas Scott, photographer and proprietor, Punch Photo, Richmond, Va
Conceptual Videography, Camera Operation and Post, Richard Hanson, SceneCycle, Inc, Richmond, Va

Personal Video Editing Software Instructor, Todd Stone (Stone, Cardwell, and Dinkin, PLC), Stone Circle of Friends,
Myotonic Muscular Dystrophy 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation, Richmond, Va

2009
Still Photographer, Sesek/Cutshaw Wedding, Hampton, Va Photographic Assistant, Thomas Scott, photographer and proprietor, Punch Photo,
Richmond, Va
Videography and Post Production, All The Saints Theatre Company, via The Byrd Theatre, Holly Lamburta, Richmond, Va Videography and Post Production, Pilotone Sound Collective, Jennida Chase, Hassan Pitts and Nathan Halverson, Richmond, Va
Videography and Post Production of One Time Recording of Viral Video Advertisement, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA),

Richmond, Va.Videography, Still and Post Production, Hendershot/Large, Meidinger/Giggety Wedding, Richmond/Hampton, Va
On Location Stylist, The Martin Agency/Wal-Mart via Philip Beauline

2008
Adjunct Faculty, Virginia Commonwealth University, Department of Photography and Film, Richmond, Va (Contemporary Issues in
Photography and Film, Introduction to the Arts)
2007
Graduate Teaching Assistantship, Instructor of Record, Virginia Commonwealth University, Department of Photography and Film,
Richmond, Va (Digital Photography 1, assistant in Performance Imaging) Teaching Internship, Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore,
Md (Two sections of Electronic Media and Culture) under Steven Silberg and Ulrich Joseph
2006
Digital Print Specialist, Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, Md Layout and Production Specialist, Maryland Reprographics, Baltimore, Md

Awards, Honors, Grants, Fellowships

2009
Sex Cells, Runner Up, 3rd Ward, Brooklyn, Ny University Deans List, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Va
2008
University Deans List, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Va
2007
Full Graduate Teaching Assistantship, Department of Photography and Film, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Va University Deans List, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Va Deans List, Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, Md
2006
Merit Scholarship, Maryland Institute College of Art, Department of Digital Arts, Baltimore, Md Deans List, Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, Md
Merit Award, View/2006, Fine Art Gallery, Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts, Richmond, Va University Deans List, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Va

2005
University Deans List, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Va
2004
University Deans List, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Va
National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Induction
University Honors Program, Induction, Virginia Commonwealth University,
Dean of Undergraduate Study, Richmond, Va

2003
University Deans List, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Va Who’s Who Among American College Students, Second Volume
2002
University Deans List, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Va
Who’s Who Among American College Students, Induction 

 
Exhibition Record (* solo shows marked by asterisk)

2011
Symbiotic Output , Alice Gryphius Kunstraum (three person exhibition), Berlin, Germany, Curators: S/N Coalition, Nia Burks (catalog) Lumen Festival,
Brooklyn, Ny, Curator: Ginger Shulick Three Inch Canvas, Jyväskylå Art Museum, Jyväskylä, Finland, Curator: Håkan Mitts, (catalog)
DAS Weekend,Transmediale Affiliate, Berlin,                                                                                                                                                                                                     To Be Determined, Gallery 5, Richmond, VaIkono MENASA, Arab Satellite Television Airing, Middle East, North Africaand part of South Asia (catalog)
Irresistible Apparatus, Studio 8 West, Richmond Va, Curators: Stephanie Benassi and Nia Burks (catalog) The Internet Is a Terrible Place To Live,
New York, Ny Curator: Jesse Malmed
Glitch Festival, Chicago Il New Media, Sex and Culture in the 21st Century, Museum of New Art, Detroit, Michigan, Curator: Jonathan Lillie
(catalog) Platine, Köln, Stuttgart, Germany, Curator: Lukas Höh (catalog)
No Budget Film Festival, Stuttgart, Germany
The Internet Is A Terrible Place To Live, Deep Leap, Portland Or, Curator: Jesse Malmed
Lumen Festival, Atlantic Salt, Staten Island, Ny, Curator: Ginger Shulick
Solanum Video Tapestry, The Warehouse, Norfolk, Va, Curator: Jennida Chase and Hassan Pitts Renewal, The Warehouse, Norfolk,
Va 2009 *USERNAME, TAB, PASSWORD, RETURN, MFA Thesis Exhibition, Anderson Gallery, Richmond, Va (catalog)
Sex Cells, 3rd Ward, Brooklyn, Ny (catalog) Electronic Art Exchange, Round 1-2, ADA Gallery, Richmond, Va,
Curator: Jennida Chase and Hassan Pitts 2008Candidacy Exhibition, Plant Zero, Richmond, Va
2007
It’s Got Layers, Anderson Gallery, Richmond, Va *Thesis Exhibition, Decker Gallery, Baltimore, Md (catalog)
Acting Up/Acting Out, Fox 3, Baltimore, Md, Curator: Leslie King Hammond
Big Art Show, Gallery 5, Richmond, VA0-3900, John’s Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md 2006 DEVICE,
Current Gallery, Baltimore, Md *Senior Thesis Exhibition,   FAB Gallery, Richmond, Va
Experience in Collective Packing, FAB Gallery, Richmond, Va Box Office Hits, FAB Gallery, Richmond, Va VIEW/2006, FAB Gallery, Richmond, Va
2005
*Girlie Show, Ethos Café, Richmond, Va 2004 Femme Art, Polka Dot Art Gallery 18 Pack, Flat International, Richmond, Va, Curator:
Kendall Buster                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Burks, Nia, Chase, Jennida, Pitts, Hassan, “Symbiotic Output Exhibition Catalog”, (March 2011), Alice Gryphius Kunstraum, Berlin, Germany Lillie Jonathan, “ONLINE TERRITORIES, Globalization, Mediated Practice and Social Space”, (Forthcoming, 2011), Peter Lang Publishing Transmediale Online, “Press Release”, web (January 2011): DAS Weekend, Berlin, Germany Mitts, Håkån, “Exhibition Catalog”, (March 2011): Jyväskylå Art Museum, Jyväskylå, Finland Launt, Diedre, “Featured Artist”, (August, 2010): QTown Magazine, Virginia Benassi, Stephanie and Burks, Nia, “Irrisistible Apparatus, Exhibition Catalog and Short Essay”, (September 2010): Studio 8 West, Richmond, Va Ikono MENASA Online, “Press Release for PLAY”, web (November 2010): Middle East, North Africa and part of South Asia
Lillie, Jonathan, “New Media, Sex and Culture in the 21st Century”, (Winter 2010): NMediaC: Journal of New Media and Culture, Detroit, Michigan Lillie, Jonathan, “Exhibition Catalog”, (October 2010): Museum of New Art Online, Detroit, Michigan Höh, Lukas, “Exhibition Catalog” (Fall 2010): Platine, Online/Print Publication, Stuttgart, Germany Boling, John Michael, “Editorial”, (March 2010): Rhizome at The New Museum, New York, Ny “Pick of the Day: Angry Gamers=Art”, (March 2010): Creativity Online, New York, Ny “Best Ad’s”, (March 2010): Advertising Age/Web On Paper (online), New York, Ny “Game Art: Nia Burks”, (March 2010): Gamescenes: Art In The Age Of Videogames (online) Department of Media, Art, and Text and Art History, in conjunction with the School of the Arts, “MFA Catalog 2009” (May 2009): Virginia Commonwealth University and The Anderson Gallery, Richmond, Va “Make Yourself Something”, “Exhibition Catalog”, (Summer 2009) 3rd Ward, Brooklyn, Ny
Blurb (print), “MICA Masters Graduates”, (April 2007): Art In America Magazine, New York, Ny Department of Graduate Studies, “Exhibition Catalog” (May 2007): Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, Md Blurb (print), “Top Ten”, (December 2007): Baltimore City Paper, Baltimore, Md Radio, “This Friday”, (December 2006): The Signal, 88.1 WYPR Baltimore, Baltimore, Md.

Publications

Co-author, “Symbiotic Output Exhibition Catalog”, (March 2011), Alice Gryphius Kunstraum, Berlin, Germany Research used and cited in textbook publication, Lillie, Jonathan, “ONLINE TERRITORIES, Globalization, Mediated Practice and Social Space”, (Forthcoming, 2011), Peter Lang Publishing Editorial, Urlesque.com (November 2010): “Paper Ripping Causes Baby Laughter In Mass Volume (Urlesque Video Compilation)”, New York, Ny Review of YouTube: Play Biennial, Urlesque.com (written, not published): “YouTube: Play, What You Missed”, New York, Ny Short Essay, coauthored with Stephanie Benassi (September 2010): “Irresistible Apparatus”, self published for exhibition catalog, Richmond, Va MFA Thesis Paper, (May 2009): “USERNAME, TAB, PASSWORD, RETURN”, Cabell Library, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Va MA Thesis Paper, (May 2007): “Pleasure in Looking: An Investigation in Scopophelia and The Gaze”, Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, Md
Text and Image Published in Local University Feminist Anthology, (2007, 2006, 2005, 2004): “Amendment”, Cabell Library, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Va
Visiting Artist Lectures
2011 “Symbiotic Output: Memory and Desire in the Recent work of Nia Burks”, Alice Gryphius Kunstraum, Berlin, Germany 2010 Deep Leap, Portland, Or 2009 Introduction to Photography (Instructor: Stephanie Benassi), Department of Photography and Film, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Va

Gallery Representation
Art Claims Impulse Gallery, Berlin, Germany

Artist Residencies
Takt Kunstprojecktraum, Berlin, Germany