Artist of the Week

Dylan DiFalco

October 25, 2010

Dylan DiFalco is a student at Eugene Lang College in New York.  He grew up on a farm in Hawaii, but currently lives in Brooklyn next to Prospect Park.


If you had to explain your work to a stranger, what would you say? Biopolitics and connective mutation.

When and where did your interest in art begin? I spent my junior year of high school as an exchange student in Beijing. I went to a lot of punk shows there, and it was totally unlike the hollowed-out punk I’d experienced as a kid in the States. There was a kind of edge at which the punk scene bled into the more underground part of the Beijing art scene. There weren’t a lot of venues, so they would have a lot of different stuff going on in one night–maybe a hardcore band followed by a video screening followed by some performance art. Because of the politics of China, all of this was sort of half-hidden. I don’t know what the legal situation was exactly, and I never saw anyone arrested or anything like that, but there was an urgency that I hadn’t encountered before (also, as a sixteen year old wannabe punk, it was easy for me to fetishize this kind of art as resistance to authority). Before China, the only people I’d met that called themselves artists were basically old hippies painting sunsets and dolphins.

What materials do you use in your work and what is your process like? My method for creating work tends to be hibernatory–I spend most of the year in the city, where I get a lot of vague ideas, and then I just mull over those for a while. Then, when I get a chance to get out (usually to Hawaii to visit my family) I process those ideas by refiguring them or occasionally actually making work out of them. Most of my ideas get stuck at some point in a notebook or in my head, and the result is that I make very little work. All of this is a way of saying that I am pretty lazy. I have very little work ethic, and I try to keep the little I do have away from art. I’m striving towards a purely ludic practice. As for materials, I’m not partial, I’ll use whatever’s around. (Short answer: video, photo and whatever I spend a lot of time looking at).

How has living in New York affected your art practice? I feel pretty conflicted about this city. It is a great place to be exposed to new ideas, but is also very uninspiring for me. I make very little work in New York, and I don’t think I’ve ever made a piece here that I’ve been happy with. I think of it as living in a library: there is a lot to learn here, but it’s very difficult to do anything with the ideas that I’ve absorbed until I get out.

What was the last exhibition you saw that stuck out to you? The Quick and the Dead at the Walker in Minneapolis is a show I still think about, although it was up over a year ago. More recently, Community Action Center by AK Burns and AL Steiner at Taxter & Spengemann here in New York was pretty incredible. I noticed that someone else you profiled, Fabienne Lasserre, mentioned the same show, and I have to second that commendation. Like Fabienne, I’m still working it over.

What artists are you interested in right now? Ana Mendieta, Adrian Piper, VALIE EXPORT, Kim Jones, Sharon Hayes. Also many of my peers who are too numerous to name.

What are you really excited about right now? I have a five-gallon batch of apple wine fermenting under my desk right now, and it’s just about ready to be bottled. I’ve made my own booze before, but it’s basically just been prison wine. This is my first serious attempt, so I’m pretty excited to see how it turns out.

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What are your plans for the next year? Graduate from school, then figure out what I’m going to do after I’ve graduated from school.