Looking at the site, having only briefly met in person in NYC and appreciating your work to date, it feels as if you're blurring the lines between art and life, wryly challenging or making fun of selfie culture and bringing your clean sense of design to life. Can you talk a little bit about your intention with the site, these concepts?
It all started with the notion of "personal" site; they usually show the work of an individual in any field. It's a common term but I felt that it wasn't truthful to some extent, as if it were personal or would not only be a showcase for projects that were self-initiated or client based, but much more. As a firm believer that work and life are intertwined I wanted to show that my daily life is as much a part of my output as anything else.
I'm also someone who isn't afraid to poke fun at myself, maybe that's my Australian humour? So I think it's a great way to not only comment but poke fun at how we consume such things. So in regards to relating to the selfie culture, it's interesting, as that is about showing a version of oneself in so many ways, it's and attempts to play on those notions but let it be backed by data so it can be "verified" as legit. I had an exhibition 2 years ago about this exact issue and was really influenced by my readings into the subject - one book in particular by Celia Lury called Prosthetic culture, this book speaks about the role of technology and its an eventual extension of the human body. A dense read but worth it.
Matt & Tim - Sons & Co - your work on building artistic websites has been lauded for its innovativeness and forward thinking designs. What was the hardest thing about bringing Wade's vision to reality or (web reality)?
We don't want any trouble, we just want to do our job, and with Wade it wasn't hard at all.
We try to give uncommon answers to frequently asked questions and that's what Wade was after. He arrived with the idea of using personal data; displaying his heart rate on the website, linked to an activity: sleeping, jogging, lion taming, etc.
Wade said it best, “I wanted to create ‘the ultimate personal website." A lot of people say they have a personal website, but it’s actually not personal at all; it just shows their work. So I wanted to look at how you could really embody that idea.”
We suggested he should display and archive all his Google searches – no censor – and he agreed without pause. We weren't serious, but it was interesting to note his reaction.
We played around for a bit with data; visualization, charts, and graphs, but it never felt quite right. We like that stuff, but it's not Wade. Data isn't truly personal, he had to be in it, and the idea of video performance surfaced.
Wade, Matt & Tim - Talk collaboration & individuality as artists? Wade you and Leta have made great art together. Matt & Tim, you are a team? What was it like collaborating on this project?
We got into design to work with other people. It's a social vocation, you can't work alone - at the very least you need a client – and aside from the lack of dress code, it's one of the best things about the job. Clearly, Wade is more than capable of designing his own website, I think his generosity and the enjoyment of collaborating is the reason why we're here. Working together was a true joy. The hardest part is starting out on a journey together with a destination not yet known, but that's the design process and we're all comfortable with it.
Location, action, heart rate? What is the significance of these three indicators in your life?
They are some of the most important pieces of info for not only for me as an individual, but also my loved ones. I like the idea that "personal" doesn't have to mean individual and that in any instance my loved ones can check it and know "Wade Jeffree is alive and well." I think including the videos on the homepage amplifies that, as you can literally see it in the video and the data.
Without a heartrate we can't act, which means we have no location, which means…dead.
Specifically, it has elements of how he questions the role of technology and the internet in our lives. The new wadejeffree.com does this for me more personally? Can you talk about these ideas?
In truth, our thinking was never that sophisticated or ambitious. It was more a case of, "wouldn't it be funny to watch Wade eat a bowl of breakfast cereal."
The data has no additional meaning other than what it is, it's simply "I am here" and there's an element of On Kawara in that, which we like. There's also a heavy serving of Jorgen Leth's mesmerising scene of Andy Warhol eating a hamburger.
As information becomes more accessible I think our ability to make and retain human connections amplifies.
It's already amazing that we meet people we will never see face to face and feel connected, I was introduced the work of Sons & Co through, well you guessed it, the Internet and then start chatting to Tim through it: that's amazing. I've seen Tim and Matt through Skype and that's it, the rest is by conversation through a keyboard.
I also met my wife online, so I can confidently say that technology has played a huge role in me making personal connections.
One of the most successful elements of the new site is this blurring and blending of art and practical, personal and business. Is there a line?
For me, no. As mentioned above they are all intertwined, especially now that my wife and I are running our business together and spend every minute together. We create because we are addicted to the feeling of it, we are just lucky enough to have found a space that allows us to do this for a living.
I am often confronted when others don't want to speak about the business side of our industry, because it's there, it's the reality. And as we all know New York is not cheap.
I'm less inclined to say I am an artist and more inclined to say that I am just addicted to making shit, I want to learn everything through doing.
Where does Wade end and Sons & Co begin in the new site or vice versa?
Wade: I had the basic idea of a personal site, and sons and co did the rest through design and language sons had written. I was too lucky to work with the talented group of people involved. To be completely transparent, I was a Sons & Co fanboy for sometime before we worked together, still am. With the site being as personal as it is, I wanted to work with someone that embodied similar ways of seeing and more importantly, were nice human beings!
Never work with assholes.
I think that any collaboration yields results that you couldn't imagine without it. For me, I started thinking about the site and its design but knew it wasn't right and that theirs was the approach I couldn't see because I was too close, it's was too personal. The traditional "personal" portfolio site is hard enough to get ready and will forever be the bane of a designers career. At this point, I think it worth noting that Sons & Co doesn't have a website!
I would also love to mention our other collaborators at Thirty (developers) and Max Weisel who created the app that not only allows me to update from anywhere but also reads my heart rate, emails and locations and sends it to the site.
You can follow Wade on Ello, Tumblr, Instagram, Twitter, and now on his website.
You can follow Tim of Sons & Co on Ello and Instagram...and the very basic site, http://sons.co.nz