In Conversation: Montana Gulbrand

Artist Profile

by Jameson Johnson

11 December 2017

Studio Visit, still

Grab an espresso, take a seat, and dive into the post-internet world of Montana Gulbrand.

Montana is a multidisciplinary artist who uses video, design, performance, and installation work to both examine and critique all the absurdity of our post-modern, neo-liberal society. Through their website, writing, and collaborative endeavors, they actively engage in the process of recontextualizing images and concepts in order to evaluate the nature of our collective zeitgeist.

In practice, their work looks like our mindless play. While scouring the internet, Montana is especially interested in engaging with content that could be utilized to cut through structures of power, pleasure, and pedagogy. By working with internet accessible mediums such as gifs or short videos, Montana asks viewers to examine how we intake information virtually.  However, their performance and installation work places viewers in direct confrontation with their own consumption or exploitation.

Installation View "Lamborghini Arson" Montana Gulbrand (2017)

A flaming Lamborghini. This has, perhaps, become Montana’s most recognized piece. It was also the piece that drew Boston Art Review in. What began as a single gif, expanded into a full installation inside the Godine Gallery at MassArt in the Fall of 2017. While Montana explores what they have dubbed as “conspicuous consumption” in the the age of the internet, this exhibition was foundationally rooted in critical research. On their site, they provide an annotated research guide which runs the gamut from Noam Chomsky corporate criticism to semiotics with Umberto Eco.

Did I mention that Montana created and executed this entire installation in less than two weeks? Let’s just say that if the world was ending and you needed to trust someone to fully conceptualize a fallout shelter equipped with the best music, art, coffee, and books, they would get it done in 48 hours flat.

When I first met Montana, they were in the midst of preparing one hundred poster designs in less than two days. Together, Montana and their team pulled it off and somehow they still responded to facebook messages at 4am. Point being, Montana is one of the most dedicated, hard working individuals I’ve ever met.

Poster Designs, SIM Big Show, Montana Gulbrand (2017)

We visited Montana’s studio (i.e. bedroom) to chat about the current state of Boston artists and what it means to be a marginalized person who produces work in this city. Montana highlighted the fact that, for many, bedrooms are often the only option for studio space. Deeply inspired by their surroundings, it only made sense to peek inside Montana’s inspiration zone.

In the coming weeks, Montana is going to be launching a series of post-internet poems. Check back in soon! But, in the meantime, head on over to their site where you can flip through virtual zines, stare at gifs for hours, and read up on your internet literature.

Virtual Publication, “Redacted: Drone Book 2” Montana Gulbrand and Sam Malabre (2016)