Q&A with Daniel Temkin and Cory Arcangel

The internship experience, from both sides
Feb 03, 2015
Daniel Temkin

How would you describe your internship experience in the MFA program?

Daniel Temkin: I came to ICP interested in both photography and new media—since the program emphasizes photography, I wanted to break away from that for the internship. Cory was my first choice as the artist to intern for—I’ve been a fan of his work for a long time—so I was thrilled he was able to work with me. The first assignment he gave me was a research and coding project to help keep one of his earlier projects alive—it was exciting to help preserve a project I knew well. From there, I did a variety of tasks. The most interesting was performing initial technical research for projects Cory was still formulating, giving me a chance to see how he felt out new ideas.

I also photographed his sculptural pieces—many of these were new for me, and I ended up writing about one of them in my thesis. Some assignments were more mundane: running errands or transcribing long recordings. But when the work was more monotonous, it often presented time to chat with Cory, about art and music. He also gave feedback on some of my work, sometimes pointing me to source material I hadn’t considered. All around it was a great experience, and I elected to intern for Cory again in my second year.

What was the day-to-day experience of working with your intern, Daniel Temkin?

Cory Arcangel: Daniel Temkin’s internship at my studio was great. I tailored tasks to his uniquely diverse skill set: photography and computer programming. To have someone in my studio who is well versed in both of these fields was a dream. For example, I recently started making sculptures, and, having never really done that before, I had no idea how to document them— I am a klutz with cameras. But Daniel was able to take photographs of the works for press and for my archive. As for computer programming, Daniel had the task of learning how to program a SONY AIBO robotic dog—an obscure piece of obsolete robotics.

My most enduring image of Daniel’s time in my studio is him working on this tiny robotic dog and teaching it to do things like sit and lie down. This was a task that would be Greek to anyone but an experienced computer programmer. I should also mention that, beyond doing invaluable work, Daniel was a pleasure to spend time with. We had many conversations about things outside the scope of my studio, including about Daniel’s own work. An example of which, his Internet Directory, still sits next to me, on display in my studio.


© Daniel Temkin