Dist of Columbia

Artist's statement

Full Artist's statement

As a first-generation product of the digital age, my interests follow my upbringing in a bridged analog-digital culture.

The advent of digital technologies has rapidly changed and challenged our notions of presentation and display, expanding the field of options and means for the rapid dissemination of visual ideas. But with these new technologies come new opportunities for a re-defined role of the cultural spectator. We are forced to become active participants – not only absorbing the imagery put before our eyes, but also consciously understanding how imagery is presented to us, and how its form alters our perception of what we’re witnessing. Where did the content originate? How was this version (re-) produced? How did the artist originally intend for work to be viewed? In Google’s deployment of their mapping software throughout museums via the Google Cultural Institute, cultural spectators no longer have to leave their couch to visit the world’s great collections, yet how can they trust what they’re viewing? A quick browse-on-foot through London’s Tate will never allude to Chris Ofili’s No Woman No Cry glowing in the dark, yet, with a simple click of the mouse, anyone can experience an intimate moment of viewership that the “traditional” museum experience does not account for.

Computer monitors are notoriously picky in terms of colors; printers and projectors are rarely profiled and calibrated. Yet these are the everyday objects digital citizens rely upon to show us the world. How can we trust what the computer presents as verifiable object – that pure red on my laptop in DC is the same as pure red on a desktop computer in Moscow? Looking back to analog imagery provides the same questions – does “red” in a 1950’s photographic test chart match “red” in a 1985 NTSC Video color chart? Does a lens resolution chart from the 1968 still work with today’s optics? What influence do the differences between a monitor’s dot pitch and a printer’s screening pattern impart in terms of the viewer’s experience? Are analog and digital forms of presentation that different, or is the difference akin to oil versus acrylic paint?

My recent investigations have been exploring these concepts in an attempt to differentiate creative visual content from presentation- (and material-) based mediation of visual information. Patterns, shadows and imperfections mar the supposedly blank surfaces of slide projection screens. Light pollution and mishandling changes the visual landscape of unexposed photographic paper. Technological limitations prevent the viewing of true-color photographs in a web-safe environment. Color calibration and test charts fade from their true values over time.

From physical viewing surfaces and precise test charts to neglected scientific specimens and ambiguous memories, my work centers around the notions of presentation and interpretation. It’s about how we view (imagery), and what understandings we take away from our individual viewing experiences.

All work by Jon