The works on display come from my perpetual fascination with absurd behaviors, particularly as they relate to our virtualized existence, and I feel – at least I hope – that the works also convey a turn in my thinking toward the more physical side of the digital, to the fumes it can leave behind, and to the all too real elements that are the fuel for this “digitalness.”
Concerning the sculptural circumstances themselves, in Devotion and Livestock, I use logically sound algorithms to arrive at illogical, unsound results. It is a visualized increase correlation between Donald Trump’s campaign donations and reported cases of diseased meat and poultry. In The Managed Horizon, I ritualize hardware manufacturing processes and the dependability of the grid to envision a self-replicating, quietly violent, Anthropocene age.
Arguing that a 3D modeling program’s standard operating environment is an ideal setting for a mundane dystopia, as with the grid engulfing all of the works in this exhibition, Default Settings engages with the parallax between positive technological progress, and the impassioned, but often empty quantification of daily life into bits of manageable data.
Umbra v2, fabricated from data artifacts, and accompanied by a projection of its digitally rendered shadow, addresses the narrowing of the gap between concepts of the digital and the physical. And in both Firmware Update and 2 Ohms and an Analog Displacement, I comment on survivalist fashion and the consumption of natural resources at the behest of technology fetishism.
With the chemical properties of graphene at the microscale well documented in the literature, I focus instead on the manufacturing processes, optical qualities and severe fragility of nanoparticle arrangements at the macroscopic, visible level. This course of action speaks to the fact that, even as the boundaries between digital-born and physical phenomena become increasingly blurred – a kaleidoscoping of first principles that I cherish for sure – this advancing internet of everything is at the same time dependent on very real hardware, land, and earth-mined resources.
I first made an audio recording of my password key-bits, leaked while encrypting and decrypting my external hard drive, due to the residual sounds given off by CPU operations inherent to the drive’s functioning. These audio data were then piped into a signal analysis program where they are displayed in a spectrogram window as a series of frequency and amplitude bands.
Correlating to color intensity and edge characteristics, these bands comprise the projected, 2D visual image in this work. One bit of decryption data – seen at the bottom of this image – was then 3D modeled to produce a digitally fabricated sculptural object comprised of that same data, and continuing in physical space.
Exhibition and project support by: Electric Objects, Blacktable
A perhaps unexpected role model for this idea can be found the Counterfeiting Industry. I can think of few other industries where objects are presented with motives so precisely ulterior, but where there’s also such wonderfully perverse ingenuity and innovation accompanying the trade. In making “Untitled: Chemical Compounds Used in The Production of Counterfeit Poultry Eggs,” I thought, why not copy the counterfeiters? Why not hunt and gather the information used by the dissimulators, and present that information in the form of ingredients. Maybe connotations of falsity and hoax that surround the industry can be reverse engineered by partaking in a kind of bankrupt mimesis that I think all too easily finds a friend in an increasingly profit-driven art market.
Under its many names, then, Sodium Carboxymethyl Cellulose is used in aerial drop insecticides; wallpaper paste; cigarette adhesives; and jellied meat products. Prolonged, direct exposure can cause eye and skin irritation, inhalation problems, and vomiting. May cause chronic digestion problems. This is used to solidify the egg white.
This is a health and environmentally hazardous substance, and when heated, the vapor is explosive in air. It’s toxic to lungs, membranes, and the nervous system. Repeated exposure can cause permanent organ damage. This too, is used to shape the egg white’s appearance.
Causes skin and respiratory irritation. Causes disorientation in birds. Use this to stabilize the egg yolk and outer membrane.
So what I did is I decided to read a selection of data from the results, which apparently describe an ENTJ’s typical qualities, and respond to each with either a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’; to go on record, if you like, and freeze the cognitive dissonance wrapped up in the test and my relation to it. The audio from the reading was then placed in an open-source signal analysis program, unearthing the recording’s spectral density, the energy going on behind the scenes. A sound map is what this is. On the y-axis is the duration of the audio (06:16); on the x-axis, frequency range (∆ 387.7372Hz); and in the z-plane, its amplitude parameters (+4.7509Hz). And let your data always, be mutable.
The code from each raw file in a pair was individually imported, then routed into color channels of red, green and blue, so corresponding with the original RGB color space of the file. Now a signal, the data was then mapped into a spectrum window – its metadata and bit densities on the x-axis as a function of frequency and magnitude; its pixel dimensions along the y-axis as a function of time.
Next, one signal of the pair was treated as a nucleotide chain in a leading strand of DNA, while the information from the second signal was regarded as a chain of nucleotides in a lagging strand. To excavate and focus in on the spectral energy inherent to each pair of signals, as well as to map the anti-parallel, 3-5-prime directionality of the byte strands, the domains of frequency, magnitude and time in the red channel of the leading signal were inverted and summed to one, while the frequency domains of the green and blue channels were flipped upside down. The lagging signal’s red and green channels were flipped similarly, and the bit order in its blue channel was reversed.
Charted as enzyme activities in the space of a cell, then, the data of the leading file moves to the right of its original order, and plays forward in time when displayed in the video window. Conversely, the information of the lagging file moves right, but also moves in reverse time within the scrolling display buffer. Five split-screen videos offer a record of these polymeric, enzyme-based actions, and an information plot containing all five pairs therein, is a transcript of the strand-files rejoined.
What Swinger Data became, then, is a celebration of this perceptual cavity. Every single sonic bit of the field recording – its recursive grammar, surrounding traffic, resonances and noise in feedback within feedback within feedback between microphone and source – was hacked further into self-referential nothingness; reassembled; disassembled; then reassembled again. The task was performed using spectral processing software. Like an audio prism, this software can divide a sound wave into the elemental vibrations that constitute it. BUT, and this is the truly wonderful part, as with any fine mechanism for measuring quanta, while the output phenomena can somehow be in two places at once, the input method, as of yet, cannot. In order to act upon the continuum of the wave, the software must either contract space or expand time – it cannot capture sound spectra in the present tense. In other words, dig into the hole all you want, but you’ll always only be left with what’s on your shovel and what you toss to the side. A loop for a loop and a cavity for a cavity. So the swinger data now traveling between your ears are not of the void, but sonic layers of distorted time and diminished space intersecting layers of constricted time and extended space, which shape its boundaries, and signal perception.
Permanent marker on found laminate board
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