streamlining my thinking

I’m trying to pin down what I am making. Trying to find a specific area to focus on that underpins the direction my work is taking.

Giles Deleuze wrote that ‘Each process of actualisation is surrounded by a constantly thickening fog of virtual possibilities” I am currently wading through the fog.

So Far-
I make stylised (my own aesthetic look/feel) digital images from my own photography that have a dystopian quality. I manipulate these images, using duplication and enhancing colour. The images are printed as photographs or canvas and paint is applied to the surface, not entirely covering the surface but in a patterned way. The paint is applied to these prints like an instagram filter, it’s function to enhance the image in some way.
The digitally printed area of the image will fade rapidly in relation to the painted surface (could highlight the impermanence of technology). What is left behind as the digital image fades is a stylised(fake) copy of traces of the digital. The content, somewhat pessimistic or dystopian becomes abstract into a pattern, points or constellations of saturated colour.

On the canvas I am considering applying the paint within geometric shapes that imply infinitude (octagon, rhombus, circle) I’m still looking into this to see if it deters or highlights the context of the works.
The photographic images already adhere to geometric shapes. It is an aesthetic choice to use these shapes but has much historical symbology to unpack(Leonardo was a big fan of the octagon)

Technology is not going anywhere, it will evolve but the technology used today will be left behind in traces of real objects. In a post human…. hmmm

Aesthetic choices play a huge role in the way that I am working - my starting point - the content seems secondary, almost in the same way I flick through hundreds of images and only a handful jump out at me for some aesthetic quality that intrigues me. Am I looking to attach depth to the depthless?, will it always be superimposed onto the depthless never to stick for lack of a better word? I’m making objects - art objects on canvas or photo paper that will become commodified so many questions…

A few things i’m looking at to inform this work:
Frederick Jameson - Aesthetics of Singularity/ the waning effect

Baudrillard - simulacrum

Florian Cramer - ‘What is Post Digital’ “The term ‘post-digital’ can be used to describe temporary disenchantment with digital information systems and media gadgets, or a period in which our fascination with these systems or gadgets has become historical.”

Aleš Erjavec -ART AND AESTHETICS: THREE RECENT PERSPECTIVES

Pluralism in Aesthetics today - can’t remember reference offhand

Graham Harman - nonrelational aesthetics UGH hurts the head a bit but struggling through this. He’s written The quadruple object hmmmm a pause before I dive into that.


What I’m thinking today

A whole heap of crazy to untangle -

Before I start, these are ramblings - an advisory: a sinful amount of grammar will be harmed in the unravelling of these thoughts.
I start with a photograph because I am lucky enough to have a smart phone. I take photos of images that interest me on an aesthetic level through their unusual composition or colours or a close up of a pattern. Using my phone I select applications that alter photographs and alter the photographs until they are as far removed from the original as I’m prepared to make them, a conscious decision to keep either a hint of the original information or to distance the new image from the original photo to such a degree that it is hard to see where the origin of the photo lies in relation to what the image looks like now. I play with multitudes, mirror effects, layers of edited saturation and filters all designed to render the image ‘better’ or even ‘perfect’ for display on social media or the internet at large.

I place some of my images in shapes that are a selective handful of shapes that I can insert my images into on applications, my choice of shapes is chosen specifically for the imbued meaning they can have. Rhombus, Circle and Octagon are chosen for their meanings of constant motion and infinitude etc etc…..

I print the these images as photos and then set out to paint in subtle ways on the surface to imitate the new image underneath so that if the image underneath where to fade one is left with the traces (in a highly geometric structured pattern) of the image that was, but in paint ( maybe refers to the permanence of painting as high art that will stand the test of time blah blah ) hence the stars on the side of paint tubes assuring the artist of their permanence. Then I sometimes repeat the process with the same images.

Some of my images are photographs selected from my hoard of photos clogging up my computer, returned from their isolation on a hard drive, manipulated in photoshop with various generic filters and given new life so to speak, made interesting enough or worthy enough to come off the computer and be printed digitally onto canvas, an aesthetic choice again. After placing these stylised digital prints onto canvas - I paint over them, hide them again and reveal the art that they are capable of being (sounds like crap, need to rethink that statement). They are a forgery, a paint by numbers and who the hell nows what I’m doing there or how that speaks to aesthetics or commodification of an artwork. But I LIKE IT, it feels new and weird which is exactly where I want to be. I am considering painting the shapes employed in my photos onto the digital prints in very specifically chosen locations and painting within those only on the digital print. Exact little or large copies of the prints underneath immortalised in paint, so that as the digital image fades you are left with the shape standing out in paint. SUPER COOL but I still have to figure out exactly what its meaning and intention are.

It definitely speaks to the impermanence of the digital when grounded in reality and how its permanence will only occur on within a digital platform ie. online. As further digital imagery is placed into the world virtual or real it becomes yet another image in the ever saturated sphere of imagery. Am I looking to counter or comment on Frederiksons “waning effect” Will Painting prevail ? Am I attempting to find or recreate the sublime in art within shapes of paint that offer some kind of permanence or perceived infinitude as the digital image fades into obscurity. Am I trying to posit the high art onto the perceived low art that I would rather be employing as a new tool box for making ? MOUTHFUL but still looking for a trajectory here.

Why do I do it ? it’s an itch I’m scratching. Maybe it’s a comment on painting at this very moment, the return to painting for what it is worth, or maybe a comment on the fact that as an artist I was led to believe that painting is the highest form of art through my education thereof. The value of paintings far exceeds that of other art forms giving them what value exactly? In the wake of the digital revolution especially considering that we view art from a new distance, the screen, and for all relational art would like to create interventions to connect people and art again the drift with advanced tech is widening this gap. But how do I align that with my need to explore new digital mediums today, my new art making box of tools? It’s nice to play with new things.

There is a whole other side to this in terms of aesthetics. What is my ‘post digital’ take on aesthetics in the wake of the “manifestation of pluralism” in Aesthetics today. Where can i posit my work in this new Aesthetic waning and fracturing.

My process is Aesthetically driven as seen in my highly stylised pessimistically or dystopian tinged subjects, through colour or multiplicity, and the way I situate my imagery in geometric structures. The subject matter of plays another role in this chaotic unfolding. Why do I choose these specific images, surely not only for their aesthetic qualities? There is an image of a riot, a dead protea, a figure on a relatively new glass and metal bridge holding a shopping bag (company on bag closed down) looking back over a historically old city scape, abstract paintings I have failed at (not my area of expertise and might never be) being given new life by manipluating them with apps, manipulated pictures of sculptures I have made in the past and dark overly saturated works next to somewhat sterile almost virus like images. These all pervade my interest. I actively seek out imagery that has this feel or the potential to have this feeling, and they all speak about some kind of despair or loss or dystopian future that is lingering in my thoughts. The images span two countries, South Africa and Scotland. They don’t speak about my South African heritage in so much as the dislocation I feel at being back in South Africa after so many years abroad and possibly the frustration that comes with returning to a place that is both home and not home anymore.

I digress (alot) therefore I am (nuts)
Don’t even getting started on the philosophical and theoretical underpinnings of the work UGH I need to visit the theorists and philosophers that influence this. I’ll save that for tomorrow.

The jumbled mess of what I’m thinking and how it evolves into the work I make.