Were computers around in your house from when you were born?
I was born in Houston, Texas. I grew up in New Jersey, Texas, then New York.
Did you use computers before there was the internet?
I watched my older sister, Katherine, play "School Bus Driver" a few times.
What was your first experience going online?
I sat with Katherine while she made my first AOL screen name, emr006. My first online experiences were very short. My interest developed and the duration of my sessions online lengthened with the discovery of AOL art forums.
How did you end up at art school? What did you study?
I only applied to one school. Parsons was the only school I felt passionate about attending, for its reputation in fashion design. Before I began college, I was certain I would major in fashion design. After I began college, I was certain I would not major in fashion design. I received my BFA in "Fine Arts."
Did your activities online ever get discussed at school with teachers of classmates?
In sixth grade I was a new kid in a Long Island middle school and I was afraid what public opinion might make of my obsession with neopets.com. I would hide the drawings and stories that filled my notebooks at the time. By eighth grade I had loosened up a bit and felt okay to leave these notebooks open on my desk. My pride in the quality of my drawings specifically overwhelmed my shame, and I wanted people to look at them and talk to me about them. They rarely did, and when they did it was curiosity rarely packaged in a kind way, but it was in efforts to facilitate an exchange between artist and audience that I had already established online.
What was your first website? What was on it?
"Got Aisha?", Generic aisha-related content.
Whats an Aisha?
My favorite neopet from my childhood. It looks like a cat without a nose and it has an additional set of long, stalk-like ears. These days I identify more with the usul, which most closely resembles a squirrel.
Can you list your websites since then?
The early ones, no. I let gotaisha.com expire (lol) and everything else was geocities-hosted. Here are the domains I own now: http://meryn.ru/, http://everybodydiesbut.me/, http://www.wednesdaymasons.com/ + http://www.midweekmasons.com/, http://is-slottet.info (with Filip Olszewski), http://www.sister-unns.com/ (with Filip Olszewski), http://samantha.su/ (with Filip Olszewski). I also post poetry at: http://cunny4.tumblr.com/
Where does the url meryn.ru come from?
Mutation of a cat sound and former nickname.
Where do you draw inspiration for website design?
Many of your sites seem like personalized archives- like the ribbon pages- what's the motivation behind these sites?
I make what I want/feel should exist.
What is it specifically about ribbons that you find interesting?
As trimming, their beauty... ability to transform an object through accessory, when it is literally a strip (of fabric, material, etc.). As "awareness" ribbons.
Performance seems to be a major component of your work, whether it's in the form of a video or a public event. What compels you to "put yourself out there"?
Self-affirmation through the existence of audience.
How long have you been writing poetry?
Since age 7, 8 maybe.
What are some of the things you think about before making an IRL object?
Materials, potential obstacles, cost, how it will photograph.
What creative activities do you do that people online wouldn't know about?
I like all types of handwork like sewing, embroidery, beading. Doll-making. Maybe you can tell this from my website, but working with clay is probably my favorite thing and an activity where I feel truly happy.
Interview by Asher Penn