Ryder Ripps is first and foremost a conceptual artist.


The work isn’t obviously “aesthetically pleasing”, but it’s purpose is to get the ideas across. If it seems ludicrous to have explain, it’s because the work as an element of visual satisfaction that may have been an unintended side effect, considering the upper level contains the “final piece” and the lower floor reveals the creators. For “Alone Together”, Ryder’s first showing at Red Bull Studios New York is evidence that his art isn’t about the power of computers so much as it is the power that humans wield over a computer. Though he is a programmer and can make things happen technically, “the computers and the stuff that plug in are just facilitating the humanity of the whole thing”. Carefully so, considering in part of the show, you’re peering into a shipping crate of internet “stuff”- screenshots, videos, files, all of which are actually being piped up from the cubicle-block of computers below, being controlled by- you guessed it- human beings on the Internet. “The shipping crate was the most obvious analogy. Technology is transient, it’s disposable. [Technology] is a thing that contains the content on an individual basis.” Ripps touches on the inevitable physicality by addressing it (“the exterior”) as the byproduct of other people’s design. The point is, Ripps isn’t interested so much in the Duchamp-ian or Dadaist nature of the shipping crate or the cubicle block rather, it’s a matter of accessibility and convenience, which in turn is the very essence of the online world. Briefly, Ripps steps back to accommodate the work as visual contributions, but in the way he knows how- “the whole thing [crate and cubical block] is sculpture as computer.”

The most challenging part is keeping up with the show. When asked how timeless the Internet is, he considers it but supplements, “it’s fleeting. It’s an attention economy that’s set up”. And it’s true- within the “attention economy”, each and every person engaged must decide whether to publish something online that’s trend-chasing and popularly motivated for something that’s personal and brand-specific. Which will garner more attention?
And in this way, we’re “Alone Together”, we’re curating ourselves, we taking in all types on content always, only to regurgitate it in our own way. It’s calculated, it’s consistent, and its comfortably binary.

Ryder Ripps “Alone Together” Is on display until April 12th, 2015 at Redbull Studios, 220 West 18th St. The viewing hours are 12pm-7pm, Thursday through Sunday.

Photo Credit: Greg Mionske / Red Bull Content Pool.

-Ben Schmidt


In other Red Bull News, the brand hosted its first Red Bull at Night showcase featuring artist Heather Shaw who created her most ambitious work to date—an immersive four-story cube, which through live performances and visual art charts the evolution of technology, signifying how the change from analog to digital has impacted human connection. Saturday night’s one-night only performance of Heather Shaw’s The Circuitry of Life took guests on a journey like no other – starting with analog, moving through the digital age, and finally culminating with a glimpse into the future. As the story progressed, the structure became interactive, allowing guests to participate in the multimedia performance. Performers included the Zadonu African Dance Company, UCLA Chamber Ensemble, The Reflections and Jamie Lidell with Paul Taylor. Red Bull at Night enables nightlife creatives to produce unique experiences that realize their most ambitious ideas.

Artists - Performance
Artists - Performance
Guests - Lifestlye

Photo Credit: Carlo Cruz / Red Bull Content Pool