Angela Washko has been busy since graduating magna cum laude from Tyler in 2009. She currently lives in New York City and is taking part in a residency at Flux Factory. In addition to taking part in live performances like in Citydrift and “World of Warcraft Explains Feminism Live,” she also has a short video going to six film festivals this year and participated in making a video game. In June, Washko curated “Deconstructing the Habit” at Splattered Columns in New York City. She has also been named the curator for this year’s Conflux Festival in October.
“I respond to things happening right now and figure out what ‘medium’ makes sense to realize these actions/ideas/interventions/the mobilizing of communities,” said Washko, “I like doing live performances because people get together and experience the event/performance/moment in a very unified time-controlled, time-specific way. I also like curating shows of performance work for the same reason.”
Going into the community is something that Washko does with her live performances. Her most recent involved playing World of Warcraft in a gallery while asking players to respond to questions about feminism.
“People in the art world frequently trivialize video games. I think it’s such a shame – smart video games with challenging vocabulary and unusual spaces were incredibly formative to me. I was thinking about my own failures in relationships…and I realized that a lot of these games that I was playing had archetypes for women that as a kid I thought were very positive,” said Washko.
When she found them to be problematic, she reacted by doing these performances. As another response, Washko formed the Council on Gender Sensitivity and Behavioral Awareness in World of Warcraft.
“Living in NYC and surrounded by socially engaged artists, I thought this language had vanished – but it’s totally the predominant language of World of Warcraft. I am trying to create a forum for discussing issues of female representation/treatment/language awareness/feminism inside World of Warcraft. Women are still oppressed in many spaces and I am trying to make World of Warcraft not one of them. It’s lofty and it’s a lot of work though. Haven’t even made a dent yet,” said Washko.
In addition to her projects, Washko takes part in residency programs. She is currently at Flux Factory in New York City.
“Doing residency programs has been essential to me for meeting artists with such broad practices. I would say 98 percent of my collaborators, closest friends, and people that I include in exhibitions I organize are people that I’ve met at residency programs,” said Washko.
Next, she will go Iceland to take part in the SIM residency program. Then, Washko has been accepted into the HIAP residency program in Helsinki, Finland. She will be there from January until March.
“Iceland will be my second residency in Iceland. Finland I am so psyched about! It’s fully funded! And I get a big studio! Which is something I haven’t had for a while. I am hoping this will make me make a lot of physical stuff, which I have been less able to do lately. It’s three months and it’s going to be really cold. But beautiful, I hope,” said Washko.
In order to maintain all of her projects and start new ones, Washko has to keep focused and work hard, “Organize. Form crit groups with people that you admire. Know a bunch of people that make videos that never get seen. Organize screenings and pitch them to local venues. Apply to stuff. Until you get to the point where you get invited to lots of things. Then you can apply less. But keep applying. Collaborate with people you like to work with. If it doesn’t work out, that’s okay – you aren’t compatible with everyone and it’s not your fault. Keep in touch with people and maintain real relationships. Networking is for phonies – really get to know people and yourself. Do residencies and meet new communities. And when you’re working, don’t forget to go do things in ‘the real world.’ Apply for applicable grants. Say yes until it’s too exhausting.”
Last but not least, she says, “Don’t worry about who you’re impressing in the art world and worry about how you can get what you need/want to do done and to reach the audience it’s intended for.”