Saturday, 22 September 2012

Saturation, Negotiation and Mediation

My research during the MA Fine Art Contemporary Practice course opened many avenues.  Ideas about our current times, the exponential growth of digital information technology and our negotiation through this data.  Seeking a grasp of contemporary reality and our engagement with other realities and how this affects our perceptions and sociological behaviours.

The two paintings below evolved through time spent with images I downloaded from Google Images and Retronaut between October 2011 and Aug 2012.  I set out a methodology for seeking Roland Barthes' Studium and Punctum (1), revealing something which would save them from obscurity and instead become a representation of itself through interpretation in paint.

 Reducing thinking processes where each image would be placed, I wanted to be surprised by particular arrangements, as the paintings became, in part, historical representations of our contemporary pop digital age. I am investigating how these inform and affect present existence in the 21st Century. 
Like the fictional character of Doctor Who, the Internet is our Time and Relative Dimensions in Space, both outer and inner, enabling us to travel time in all its forms.  As with photography and photographic film, we can go back, forward, pause. 

Visiting and re-visiting recordings from the past with all its old thinking, ideologies, adverts. hypocrisies, propaganda, fears, loves, passions, philosophy and art to name a few.  New ways of seeing and understanding obscure, forgotten connections of the past, simmering in the background, within the shadows of memory.  Shaping the world through our mediation. 
The gazes, distractions, attitudes and the evolving mobile gateways to realities of increasing awareness. (2)

The Arab Spring in Algeria, Egypt, Libya and the unrest in Syria;  Iraq and Afghanistan; Iran and their Nuclear Power and threats to Israel; the trade union protests in the U.K. over public services and the pension crisis; the August riots in London and other cities, revealing a dissatisfied youth, condescendingly labeled by the Media as NEETS;  the anti-austerity protests in many countries within the Eurozone; the rise of German intervention in these austerity measures, bailing out countries, on condition of selling their public services (Friedman Economics); unemployment via financial/ funding restrictions and so much more.

A change in awareness and realisation through social-media, 99% are waking up and no longer wish to follow a system built from the Industrial Enlightenment.  We are post-digital societies seeking new mediations and new forms of negotiation in these changing climates.  Art affords the space to see again, to re-look and be critical in our questioning. 

Can we sit comfortably in the knowledge that exploitation is the 'money' invested in the manufacturing industry of cheap commodities?  (3)

Oppression of the mass through fear worked in the past.  Social networking, forums, mobile technology, Internet, peer-to-peer and Wikileaks have opened Pandora's Internet box.  Since 1997 the world has changed in 15 years... and it's exponential.  A new singularity of awareness through fresh eyes using technological innovation to the betterment of society - but, the 'clock' is ticking.

Adam Grose  MA, BA(Hons), PGCE, MIfL

Recommended reading

1: Barthes, Roland., Camera Lucida, (New York: Hill and Wang, 1981) 2: Jacques Ranciere, The Emancipated Spectator, trans. Gregory Elliot, (London: Verso, 2009) 3: Karl Marx, Capital: Volume One, (Kindle: Liberty Fund Inc)