|Take me away flying friend|
Text/Images :Rose Stasuk, (Rosefish)
From Resemblance to Computer Trompe LOeil
|One of my earliest recollections of
tech-affect was getting up early on Saturday to watch a TV cartoon show. I dont
remember anything about that show. But what I do remember is waiting for it and being
mesmerized by the test pattern signal. There is also the memory of writing on the TV
screen using a vinyl sheet and grease crayons which were the essentials of a program
participation kit, sold separately. I dredge up these memories for their metaphoric and
mnemonic significance. It has taken me awhile, but I am back to drawing on a screen. I
have also never gotten over my phosphor addiction and I keep regular hours in the 4th
It is an understatement to say that I approach the computer as a drawing tool. It has in fact been the catalyst for recovering my art "roots." The best analogy that I can make for learning to draw is gaining command of a musical instrument or a computer. Perhaps if I had had ready access to a piano while growing up I might not have practiced drawing. In my case it was a means to self-master my otherwise ingenuous, adolescent body. Using a computer is like drawing or playing music because it takes practice to develop finesse and economy. Paying attention is the hardest part. Its easier to work alone with a computer. The mouse interface evinces eye-hand coordination. The GUI facilitates mise en scène.
It comes as no surprise that experience and technique affect visual literacy. Our understanding of what we see depends on more than simply looking. It has been clinically demonstrated that the same areas of our brain are utilized in drawing as in seeing. This visualization process partitions the scene into image-memory. The output or drawing is the reassembled scene. The copying of information without interpretation is as dispassionate as taking a photograph can be. Nevertheless we must rely on our memory of what we see when we take our "eyes off" the scene to reiterate it on paper. Departure from the action of look-remember-record occurs in blind contour drawing where eyes and hand move simultaneously. This type of drawing in "real time" probably comes closer to the experience of automata.
I was taken in by the discipline of drawing at a tender age. That and wearing braces (on my teeth) did more to make me the exquisite art-martyr I am than any other experience to date. Indeed the series I titled "Art Has Made Me What I Am" is an admission of using the probative exercise of representative portraiture to bear out the findings of self-examination.
After you can accurately draw anything you can set "eyes on," there comes a time when you wonder how well you can draw without looking at something. At the suggestion of using a handicap I wired my pencil to a vibrator motor and aware of the reference to auto-eroticism I produced the series "Magic Fingers 100". This makeshift metaphor drove home the fact that I could still achieve my intention with computer intervention. My own reticence for using a computer was gradually overcome as I came to know its particular attributes for the dimensions of time and space. I stopped thinking of it as an imitation of other mediums and saw its potential to make complete statements without physical evidence. Using drawing as a transitional means I got accustomed to working "closer to the machine."
I justify my decision to incorporate electronic media as provocation. Nothing had made a greater impact on my social conditioning or built my corresponding apprehension of its influence as much as broadcast media.
When one realizes the narrative potential of television, it is a small step to extend that aspect to all telecommunications including computer networks. Swimming in Barthes cold sea of data-bytes through our senses-can corrupt our consciousness. Can we expect it to be otherwise? This conditioning jellyfish keeps me coming back for more toxin in hope of an antidote. The antidote as Roland Barthes has characterized is dialog.
There is, I think, an obvious advantage to using a system which simulates human intelligence and responds to human needs without prejudice or favor. The possible situations of democratization that computers create by facilitating information access and group interaction may ultimately lead us to realize our interdependence. My conversion in artistic intent from unstated, unconscious message to the use of semiotics and montage shifts importance to the viewer. This negotiation is viewer dependent because the viewer/readers own cultural experience is brought to bear upon the codes and signs which make up the context.
If I have internalized the depictive conventions of my traditional art upbringing, in my current work I now divulge these precepts as social constructions. I intentionally exploit practical, cultural experience shared through communication media. This strategy is less about trespassing in popular culture or gaining a wider audience than it is about the realization that my artistic goals lie within mass media. I see its potential as non commercial and pluralistic. Likewise, I am compelled to use the technological systems which I mean to critique. Rather than accept alienation as an artist in the cultural sidelines, I choose to participate within the context of our contemporary world and employ its technological capabilities to be a more effective communicator. My development as an image maker is part of image evolution, from abiding object to transient screen display.
http://www.ucet.ufl.edu/~rstasuk/ Rose Stasuk personal site