Paintings, Billboards and computer generated virtual realities
The emergence of new media has been something that has coincided with (and possibly inevitably influenced) our development. The questions arising - particularly about the nature of materiality - the ontological challenges of the ‘internet of things’ and how it affects the way we think, the way we are and how we see images. ‘Post internet’ art has become caught up in this debate. The cool corporate stock photo library of DisMagazine mimics and totalises the world, whereas Ryan Trecartin’s bombastic humour in the videos of ‘Pasta and M-PEGgy’ (I-BE AREA, 2007) introduce the absurd, and may be far more recognisable relational and connected to the origins of the media. Our work is caught up in this dichotomy. The nature of digital objects, virtual physics, virtual materiality and these relationships and tensions with physical media - how all of these things exist and are represented - is an area we try to explore. Hito Steyerl's exploration of digital materiality generally, and the collage and interplay of real and virtual in her work, such as the film essay ‘How Not To Be Seen: A Fucking Didactic Educational.MOV File’ (2013) is of interests us.
While many of the influences and ideas which affect out work may lie outside of the painting medium, it is how these issues relate the processes of image making, and how they work in dialogue with the history of painting, that usually forms the basis for our projects, and a fundamental part of our image editing process. Whether we are making and editing an image using oil paint on canvas or manipulating digital pixels with Photoshop, the objective is much the same. Each media has a nature and context to be explored - how a painting can be a singular, artist-selected image, as a one-off commodity, versus the ubiquitous, virtual, infinite jpeg. We want to explore these tensions and relationships, pushing and experimenting with the processes by which we can create and manipulate imagery through media.
In recent decades a convergence of world events - natural, political, technological and social - have resulted in a focus on notions of ‘truth’ and ‘untruth’, reality versus virtual-realities. But contradiction and complexity have always existed, and the current ‘fake /real’ preoccupations may be the inevitable outcome of our current place in time - a post Gutenberg parentheses world - and besides, I would argue, the difference maybe isn’t relevant anymore. As Graham Harman says ‘there is always a gap between knowledge and the real’. Our historical preconceptions of what constitutes politics are becoming inadequate and of necessity becoming fluid in the face of new media, fractured identities, and non-human entities. We pick the subjects we pick - war, TV, painting, pop culture, violence - because in these subtexts we can find a way to engage with the debates in art and beyond. The nature of images, the digital, humour, object-hood, politics, materiality, post-humanism, time, histories, authorship and appropriation can all be drawn into the discussion, and I want to begin to try to understand how this shapes the images we make, how we make them, and how we see things.