Max Capacity is a digital artist who charts the intersection of analog and digital media and the fetishization of obsolete tech. Working with glitches, pixels, GIFs, text, sound, video, and AI, the tension between redundancy and futurity, is ever present in his work. He first began sharing work on Twitter and Tumblr in 2008. Since then, his work with glitch art and analog video art GIFs has led to features in publications including Vice, The Verge, and Wired and exhibitions on six continents.
- My earliest memory of being online
Playing Command and Conquer over a dial-up modem.
- How my online experiences have influenced my offline life
All I can think of is that “they don’t know” meme. Most people in my daily “real” life don’t know what I do or care about the details.
- The most challenging and most rewarding thing about what I do
The most challenging part is promoting myself. I’m not terrible at it, but it’s my least favorite part of being an artist. The most rewarding part is connecting with other artists, which is priceless to me.
- The most commonly misunderstood thing about what I do
A lot of people think I just snap my fingers, create my work, and mint it. I’m able to release new work frequently, but it’s because I have a workflow going and work about 12 hours a day every day.
- How technology has changed what I do since I started doing it
When I started with digital and analog video art, I used lots of old “abandonware” programs as well as VCRs, TVs, and tapes I found dumped by the side of the road. Unfortunately, the continued obsoletion of older tech has led to it all being harder (or more expensive) to find.
- How I think our relationship with technology should change
Less cables. I’m sick of wires and cables everywhere. Also, I do this all the time, but treating the internet and “real life” as two separate things. The internet is IRL, and I think that disconnect causes problems for a lot of people.
- The most important tool for my practice
I work with a lot of different techniques and mediums, but one of my favorites is analog video art. There are many ways to digitize analog video, like cameras, but my favorite method is my vintage internal analog capture card. I had to buy an old Windows 7 machine to install it.
- Art matters because
Creating art for its own sake is the only thing that separates humans from animals. I think that the privilege of getting to make art is a direct result of a (relatively) safe existence where we can devote time to art for its own sake instead of struggling to survive.
- I am most indebted to
My mother, for letting me live with her for 39 years while I was going to school, working minimum wage jobs, and devoting so much time to something she probably didn’t think would ever make me a living. And to my collectors, for allowing me to make a living from art.
- I am fascinated by
My favorite hobby is gardening. I’m endlessly fascinated by the extremely complex systems and interactions between plants and their environments. The more I learn, the more interested I get. I have so many gardening books.
- I am vexed by
- Something that feels futuristic now but will be forgotten in the future
VR as we know it now. When we all have chips in our brains and plug them directly into the internet, putting two screens right next to your eyeballs is going to seem quaint. Remember the Nintendo Virtual Boy?
- Something that feels like a distraction now but will define the future
Billionaires. The future is going to be one big global (or even galactic) kleptocratic oligarchy if things keep going how they’re going.
- How I envision the role of the artist changing in the future
I’m hoping that crypto-art can lead to artists making a living wage creating the work they want to create. That could trigger a whole new renaissance. Watch what kind of fun stuff happens when more artists have more money.
- My future legacy will be
I wouldn’t mind being in a contemporary art history book while I’m still alive. Once I’m dead I won’t care anymore.
- The best instruction for an AI learning to emulate me
I would pull a Tom Sawyer on it and trick it into doing all the work I don’t like to do by making it believe that was the most fun work to be doing.
- What three things would you recommend to anyone?
Sleeping, eating, and breathing seem pretty universal. Probably can’t go wrong with those.
- My current desktop background is
It’s hectic. I use it as a place to dump things that I don’t want to organize. I have five different browser profiles open right now, each with multiple windows open and lots of tabs open in each of those. The worst one right now is 278 tabs.