I am a conceptual, performance, and systems-based artist, which at the moment means I make charts about dinosaurs and dress up like comic book characters.
I like to make work that is friendly and accessible to the average person while also posing experimental propositions about the field for consideration by other artists; I believe art can be entertaining without sacrificing its sophistication or depth.
Paleontology: I am interested in the popularity of dinosaurs, and why we think dinosaurs look the way we think they did–in other words, how have we come up with our mental representations of what dinosaurs looked like? How does this tie in to the complex relationship between paleontologists, illustrators, and pop culture? How is this affected by the fact that we only know dinosaurs through necessarily-degraded and -incomplete sets of fossils, thus forcing us to use our imaginations when reconstructing them? Why are dinosaurs so continuously popular in our culture, as opposed to other large, extinct animals? I engage in a variety of research efforts, including granular analyses of cultural artifacts and extensive surveys of everyday people, to explore these questions.
Geek culture: I am particularly interested in how fandom acts as a generous, innovative, grassroots set of creative activities which have an emphasis on strong craft and rhetorical skills, while remaining accessible to everyone. In addition to cosplay, wiki-ing, and battle-debating, I am also a semi-professional comics organizer, a novice light saber duelist, and moderately-good destroyer of tiny plastic space ships.
My work has been featured in numerous exhibitions and performance festivals, such as Encuentro in Santiago, Chile; ITINERANT in Brooklyn; the Performance Arcade in Wellington, New Zealand; Dimanche Rouge in Helsinki, Finland; Visualeyez in Edmonton, Canada; FIMA in Montreal, Canada; the Lillstreet Art Center in Chicago; and the Museum of the Earth in Ithaca. I have presented my work on geek culture at conferences such as Paradox; SECAC; the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts; Stage the Future 2: The Second International Conference on Science Fiction Theater; CannonCon; and Inhabiting Immersive Territories at the Sorbonne Nouvelle in Paris, France.
I teach in the School of Art at Syracuse University.
You can reach me at chris [dot] wildrick [at] gmail.com.