CtrlAltDel     /  Statement
CtrlAltDel takes as its subject our contemporary world of digital information. By exploring the slippage between analogue and digital my work seeks to create conversations with the environment of technology where our increasingly mediated existence has led to a tenuous relationship to the physical world. As our ongoing conversion to pixels and bits progressively relinquishes physicality, highlighting imperfections in the process helps us cling to that which makes us human. CtrlAltDel asserts that within the space between messy materiality and binary data a true record of our selves exist.

In Menagerie, a collection of animals made up of letters and punctuation marks are manually typed onto paper. These animal figures operate as a contemporary set of hieroglyphics. As pictographic relics from an earlier and perhaps naive relationship with computers and electronic communication, these universally recognized symbols question our relationship with nature, suggesting the possibility of encountering the wild within digital space.

To create the automated Drone sculptures I sourced scrap-wood leftover from newly-built Department of Defense conference tables to retrofit remote controlled vehicles. Painted in stark Razzle Dazzle patterns used by the Navy during WWII, these handmade “drones” evoke the animal characters in my digital menagerie. By repurposing found material from furniture bound for the Pentagon and painting them in wartime camouflage, the Drones sculptures offer a pointed critique of automation and unmanned warfare.

SBBOD consists of a motorized, spinning beach ball stuffed with poly-fill, wrapped in barbed wire and data cables, and suspended from the ceiling. While the beach ball is a classic signifier of leisure, the designers at Apple have used it as the basis for their Spinning Wait Cursor which appears whenever an application is overloaded with commands. Similar to a loading bar, or earlier symbols such as a spinning hourglass or clock, the Spinning Wait Cursor visually lulls the user while the computer struggles with multiple tasks. As a materialized “spinning beach ball of death”, SBBOD dramatizes the common frustration stemming from “time lost” during an encounter with a computer.

Erasures is an installation which invites gallery visitors to take part. Participants stand in front of an automated webcam to have their picture made which is then fed to a webserver designed to randomly convert the image to a text file and delete a single piece of code before reverting the file back to a jpeg. This process is repeated until the image code is degraded to such a degree that it is no longer legible to the computer. Meanwhile, the progressively altered and distorted image is projected onto the gallery wall in real time. When no new image is made the server cycles through previously captured images and runs through its algorithm in an ongoing cycle resulting each time in a novel result. As Erasures is, essentially, a virtual environment of continually refreshing obliteration, no two image-degradation cycles are alike. Digital information is frequently understood as fluid media due to the way data is transmitted and inscribed on "hard" drives. By aligning us with a false permanence promised by digital technology, Erasures implicates us in a digital samsara with its endless cycles of life and death.

The series of images known as Handscans are culled from the hundreds of millions of books scanned by Google and made accessible to anyone with access to the internet. The typically automated process of scanning books must be done manually if the books are rare, fragile, or oversized. In Handscans, I have collected aberrations in the scanning process where Google employees have had their own fingers caught in the image. While each book is the result of focused individual effort, Google’s scanning process—and the algorithms which allow these images to live in Google’s vast digital archive—gives virtually all written knowledge equal weight. It is information rendered by the assembly line. Only the haphazard inclusion of the scanners’ hands and fingers—complete with rings, nail polish, watches, cuticles and protective latex devices—point to the labor, the rigor, behind the original manuscripts.