Nathan Gates is an artist currently based in Johannesburg. He holds a Master’s degree in Digital Arts from The University of The Witwatersrand where he also lectures part-time. His work focuses on the domestication of knowledge brought in part by the growing ubiquity of digital technologies and its accompanying technological modes of thinking.
In his practice he explores the relationship between “Agency” and “Structure” as this tension operates in everyday life, critically examining the nature of one’s capacity to act in a highly organized environments, both politically and socially. Though various modes of physical interrogation he examines to what degree agency (the ability to choose to act and be), is indebted to its fabricated physical and social environment and to what extent it can be considered autonomy vs. adaptation or making the most of circumstance. In a process based practice often incorporating found objects, ideas and gestures all as equal counterparts, he aims at opening up modes of mindful experimentation and knowledgeability that for the most part seek to make productive use of error and failure.
As Fak’ugesi Resident Gates investigated the wireless networks and their presence as public space. Through the residency Gates produced work that interogated the role of network names as a site for public interactivity, giving agency and control to the public through these names and their use. In this podcast she speaks to residency curator Tegan Bristow about his work and experiences on the residency.