Maya Man

July & August. 2023.

Maya Man. "Everything I do is Wrong"

From the artist:


For the young dancer, the annual, end of year recital acts as the major culmination of a year spent in the studio. It provides a chance to show off a set of routines, carefully choreographed, fine-tuned, and rehearsed. Stepping onto the stage renders these routines new. Despite hours of practicing the movement in front of the mirrors, there remains special and electric about executing these routines live. Liveness introduces risk. I still have nightmares about being 13, getting on stage, and completely forgetting my choreography. This element of chance gives live performances that feeling of significance. The performance is NOW. Miss it and you’ll never see it in the exact same way ever again. 

This belief in liveness grounds the way that I work with software as a medium. Each time that my program runs in the browser, it enacts a live performance of my code’s output on screen. Unlike other forms of time-based media, this type of work has no duration, beginning, or end. Instead, these pieces run infinitely, leaping through conditional statements that randomly determine showing this phrase versus that one, color palette #4 or #7, extra large text or extra small. 

For this reason, it is extremely important to me that, when installed, my code-based work is shown running live in real-time. Showing a screen recording of the work, though it may be difficult to discern a visual difference over a short period of time, equates to inviting an audience to a theater and showing a video of a dance performance up on the stage. It is important to not confuse the work with its documentation. The latter erases the element of chance inherent to liveness. Tourists, art enthusiasts, sports fans, musicians, all obsess over authenticity, how to find, experience, and protect it. Everyone knows there is something so special about seeing the “real thing.” 

Recital presents the real thing, live! This show brings together three of my generative, browser-based works all made in the year 2022: 𝓡𝓮𝓪𝓭 𝓲𝓽 𝓪𝓷𝓭 𝓦𝓮𝓮𝓹; everything I do is wrong, everything I do is real; and shift reality instantly ~ {very powerful}. As a collection, they demonstrate the beginnings of my process of creating text-driven websites. Language allows me to directly reach inside a viewer’s mind. Each phrase acts as a seed: hold it in your mind and let your thoughts unfold outward. Consider how this line plus the next one, dictated by the choice of the algorithm, interact. Wonder where this collection of characters lived before a copy paste lifted them from their source.

“Recital” can refer to a performance or the reproduction of language. Each of these pieces embody both definitions, rendering strings of text onto the screen in an endless performance. Diary entries, essay excerpts, looping thoughts, hearts, sparkles, and stars. The computer never tires or forgets the routine. She is prima ballerina ad infinitum, executing my code as choreography, making secret choices that surprise me at every iteration. Thank you for watching and thank you for reading. I hope you enjoy the show. 

About the artist:

Maya Man is an artist focused on contemporary identity culture on the internet. Her websites, generative series, installations, textiles, and posts examine dominant narratives around femininity, authenticity, and the performance of self online. She is the creator of the browser extension Glance Back and the Art Blocks curated collection FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT. She has exhibited internationally at bitforms, NYC; SOOT, Tokyo; Vellum, Los Angeles; Power Station of Art, Shanghai; and Feral File, online. Her work has been featured in Art in America, Forbes, Zora Zine, Outland, Refinery29, and more. Maya holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in Computer Science and Media Studies from Pomona College. She holds an MFA in Media Art from UCLA.