I've made this page to share documentation/versions of work from my 2009 solo show at SEVENTEEN. Whether to show something here that resembles the actual work or is closer to documentation depended on the work's appropriateness for the internets.
The press release had a detailed description of the show, but in short I wanted to get away from video games / pop culture / naive-looking uses of technology and still stay down with the internet because it's important to me. This was hard as the 'net can be defined, on the surface, by those sorts of lowest-common-denominator currencies. Other themes are "internet emulation", a sort of philosophical take on 'transformation', and designing personal technologies like the headgear to interrogate the internet itself.
And when all else fails, poo in a box. Dunno if it worked or not, gimme a shout: pbd DOT com AT gmail DOT com
Codec Proprietary compression algorithm, single channel video with sound Codec is a demonstration of the PBD compression algorithm. I wasn't sure how to best demonstrate an algorithm, so I looked to online software demonstrations and corporate training seminars for help and they provided me with a solution: a first person perspective video recording of the narrator's computer desktop in action. Also this piece unlocks the show.
Critical Space Headgear (collaboration with Liam Fogerty) CCD camera, video processing and overlay module, video goggles, mini-DVR, headband Critical Space Headgear takes video from a head mounted camera and runs it through a system that overlays text onto the live video image. Right now there are 2 modes: Critical Text Mode which overlays the text "What does this tell me that isn't already obvious?" in the center of the image, and YouTube Emulation Mode which overlays the YouTube logo in the bottom right hand corner of the image. The new video image with overlaid text/logo is then sent to the video goggles for viewing and navigation.
Surfin' USA single channel video with sound In this piece I "surf" popular "viral" news and Web 2.0 sites while in Critical Text Mode in the Headgear, which helps me keep a distance from what I see on screen. The banality of the internet is something to be admired, but after 15 years of it, I have begun to occasionally ask a question or two.
Even Better than the Real Thing single channel video with sound Here I show Liam a number of images of internet and Youtube memes which I've printed on paper while he's in YouTube Emulation Mode in the Headgear - they should look really amazing to him, right? Liam is essentially existing in a real-time "internet emulator" so if emulation really works then yes of course they do :)
The Symbol Grounding Problem single-channel video with sound A longer description here, as some people find this piece quite gross. The idea for the piece came from a time that I was eating and shitting at once, I'm not sure why. My partner at the time was on the phone to her father, who when told what I was doing, asked what it felt like. My response was "it feels like I'm really processing". The Symbol Grounding Problem is then based on a relationship between physical and informational processes, which has become more cogent thanks to recent philosophical ideas about the nature of information and our place in the digital ontology called Philosophy of Information. The text started collaboratively with a philosopher, and I then made an action that asks the viewer to apply the universal ideas in the text towards the most banal act of real life. POI holds that as our digital technologies become completely integrated with human Being and we begin to live inside models of ourselves which are more "intelligent" than we are, information that creates this environment becomes the defining characteristic of Existence. Hence any object regardless of its material construction can be viewed as an "informational entity" and ontologically our view of it must change. Also I feel that my action (eating a bacon sandwich while shitting in a perspex box), while completely ordinary in an art historical context, would lend itself to internet re-interpretations that would distort my original intention too much if it was presented in it's entire duration. I'm therefore only providing a still from the video.
Mother of all Demos single channel video with sound In December 1968, Douglas Engelbart gave a demonstration of his "Human Augmentation" research work to the Fall Joint Computer Conference in San Francisco. It was a fascinating presentation which lasted about 90 minutes, and in one swoop he demonstrated the first computer mouse the public had ever seen (which he'd invented in 1963), as well as introducing video conferencing, email, and hypertext. His language is sort of "productivity-utopian", if I can just make up a term for it, as he asks us to imagine what sorts of incredible work we could do with computer systems in our daily professional lives. I thought I might ask the Microsoft Office Assistant, which is a more recent development of the productive utopia, to give him a hand. Only a still here because the compression used in Flash video made it impossible to read Merlin's text.
Failed Aesthetics 1-4 oil on canvas Outsourced paintings of stills from my Compression Studies (2007)...rolled em up and stuck them in the corner as sculpture...
NOTE: If you have trouble viewing the Flash video try reloading the pages and make sure to use Firefox. If you want, look in the source for the .FLV filenames and download them to view in your player of choice.