September 2017- august 2018
curated by dateagleart and Bob-bicknell knight
dateagleart presents "Spread The Virus", an online exhibition that spans over 12 months and brings together 12 commissioned artworks by 12 contemporary artists exploring the possibilities provided by digital technologies in the production of their works.
Featuring a vast array of mediums including film, photography, audio, passing through iPhone drawings to digital paintings, this virtual exhibition includes works by James Irwin, Merle Luhaäär, Josie Tucker and Ade Adekola amongst others.
The title 'Spread The Virus’ is taken from Cabaret Voltaire's 80's song under the same name, which pioneered the birth of a new sound by integrating experimental sensibilities- and a very direct message: "60 Second Wipe Out. The Virus Has Been Spread".
‘Spread The Virus’ begins with James Irwin’s “(Slow Down) The Blame Game” (2017), attempting to capture the energy of isolation and feverish anxiety that can result from being hyperconnected. Josie Tucker’s “Gamboyage” (2017) tells the story of gamboge paint without ever depicting it, but only by providing a fleeting glimpse through an optical illusion. Further highlights include a colourfield from conceptual artist Ade Adekola, who explores aspects of Nigerian Culture by combining elements of gestural action and fields of colours, altering the viewers perception of the photographic frame.
This online exhibition intends to encourage a community of artists to explore digital-based art.
British artist James Irwin presents "(slow down) The Blame Game" (2017), a piece made from 3D rendered animation, ripped YouTube clips, real video camera footage and sampled audio. This work attempts to capture the energy of isolation and feverish anxiety that can result from being hyperconnected, "a human node seeking a sense of calm within a complex network of ubiquitous technologies". - James Irwin
Merle Luhaäär's bizarre depictions deal with the past and confront both public and private beliefs the artist is interested in. Her surrealist pieces become realist due to the nature of transmitting life as it is, "endless, surreal, and yet so fulfilling" and questions the viewer on their beliefs of what is real and what is not. "Nightlight" reflects on the dual nature of light and humanity. "Matrix is real and things don't only appear but are different in nightlight". - Merle Luhaäär
In Josie Tucker's "Gamboyage" digital animatic video, she aims to tell the story of gamboge paint without ever depicting it, but only by "providing a fleeting glimpse through an optical illusion created by the inversion of the blue scarf tone. The illusion leaves a mark on the eyes in the pattern of the scarves worn by the victims, that fades quickly with light, just as the paint does." - Josie Tucker
Ade Adekola's vibrant "Footballers" forms part of his colourfields series exploring different aspects of Nigerian contemporary Culture. This abstract photograph is a fragmented snippet of a football match in Lagos converted into geometric shapes and infinite planes. "Superimposing these shapes and geometric forms, on top of, beside, or inside each other the final piece is revealed" - Ade Adekola
what is digital art?
Rex Bruce, Founder and Director of Los Angeles Center of Digital Art
"First and foremost is the data; anything that is construed by reconstituting binary numbers into “art”, is of course digital art."
"This data can be generated in real time or not, statistically, mathematically, virtually, optically, interactively by input device, or as an appropriated sample or scan. Then, through a vast array of software available (or programmed by the artist) we further manipulate, animate, and edit to realize the final form the zeros and ones take."
Bob Bicknell-Knight, London based Artist and Curator, Founder of Isthisit? and Director of A217 Gallery
"If an artist claims or brands their work as 'digital art', then it is deemed to be so."
"A lot of the artwork that's being currently produced, in the western world anyway, utilises digital technologies in some way. However, just because you use a digital technique in the process of creating your work doesn't mean that it'll be branded as inherently digital. Wikipedia informs me that digital art is an 'artistic work or practice that uses digital technology as an essential part of the creative or presentation process'. This scenario does feel like an incredibly precise and pedantic way of identifying and seeking clarification of an artists practice though, so ultimately, in my opinion, if an artist claims or brands their work as 'digital art', then it is deemed to be so. That is, until someone disagrees with them and they have to back up their statement. I realise I haven't really answered what I define as digital art or not, usually if I go into an exhibition and see a TV, computer or photograph, I consider it to be digital art. In this sense, when making these quick decisions, the medium of the work is weirdly deemed more pertinent than the conceptual basis behind it."
alex flowers, Team Leader, Digital Programmes at Victoria And albert Museum
"It is a creative expression created with digital tools or processes."
To break down the term digital art into a succinct sound bite is pretty difficult. At its essence it is a creative expression created with digital tools or processes. Yet when trying to clarify that, the boundaries of digital become hazy. The use of digital processes is so pervasive across creative disciplines that to classify it just through the tools used in its making becomes reductionist. To be truly digital art the work needs to reflect and demonstrate its bits and zeroes, surface the instructions that bring it into being and show the artefacts of the binary, losing the smooth graduations of greys which analogue brings. It is a genre and aesthetic, a canon and a criticality. It makes us reflect on the behaviours and expressions of a connected age. It revels in teasing the viewer with the push and pull of human agency and the machine. Digital art uses the context of the technology used in its creation to critique technology itself.
mark fell, multidisciplinary artist
"Personally, I would like to suggest that we do not use the term “digital art”, and in its place I want to suggest that works made with computers should be called “art of finite resolution”."
I just did a quick google search and “digital” seems to be defined as data that is stored and processed in binary form; this is contrasted to analogue. However this distinction is a mistake. The difference between digital and analogue is not that digital has a binary structure and that analogue does not, it is that digital data is represented by discreet steps and the analogue is continuously variable. The difference between digital and analogue is more like the difference between decimals and fractions. If we compare 0.333 and 1/3, we can see that the decimal has a “resolution” (in this case 3 decimal points) and thus has a limited level of accuracy. The fraction does not suffer from this problem. In my view therefore the defining feature of the digital is not under the hood collection of ones and zeros but its finite resolution: in images we talk of megapixels, and in sound we talk of sampling rates and bit depths.
In practice however this limited resolution (these days at any rate) is not a problem. And digital platforms offer a higher level of detail than their analogue counterparts. Indeed many artists are drawn to the pre-digital because of the grain it offers, the grain of film, the behaviour of analogue tape and so on. I suspect however that when people use the term “digital art” they refer to art that is made on a computer. But I think that the stepped character of images and sounds that are stored and processed on a computer is not the most important difference between the digital and non-digital. For me computer-based image and sound processing tools are characterised by how they facilitate specific modes of engagement with materials, not the finite resolution that those materials display under a microscope. The differences between audio and video editing on a computer, compared to audio or video tape is mainly (I think) in the possibility to cut, copy, paste, duplicate and distribute materials very easily and quickly. For example when using analogue tape to edit sound, one cannot see the waveform on the tape itself, one has to cut the tape, and (unless a copy is made) the segment can only be used once, not indefinitely copied. If one wants to distribute those sounds and images, it has to be broadcast in some form.
To sum up: the tools we use are important and active ingredients in the things we make with them. However to group works together into categories that reflect and sustain popular myths and misconceptions about those tools is problematic. If there is a thing called “digital art” do we really think that its practitioners share a common concern with either (a) the binary nature of data storage (which is not what digital means anyway), or (b) that digital representations of images and sound have a finite resolution. Furthermore why should the users of computer based technologies be tied to those features? It seems to me that in addressing the impact of computers on artistic practice one should also think about the accessibility of computing tools, the processing and editing that they offer, how the tools are used, how they structure use, and how the dissemination and sharing of materials has drastically changed since their introduction. Let’s not use a word that places naive emphasis on the finite resolution of the materials they deliver. Personally, I would like to suggest that we do not use the term “digital art”, and in its place I want to suggest that works made with computers should be called “art of finite resolution”… sounds stupid doesn’t it?
james stanford, artist and pioneer of digital art creation
"Digital could be referred to as an image captured in code by a sensor that records a likeness or impression of a real person place or thing. Digital images are not real, but, neither is traditional film Photography”.
The term digital art is used to describe art which makes use of digital technologies in its production. Digital technology is emblematic of our age, yet I’m sure that most people would be hard pressed to define what the term digital even means. Perhaps digital could be referred to as an image captured in code by a sensor that records a likeness or impression of a real person place or thing. Digital images are not real, but, neither is traditional film Photography. These images are but representations. It matters not whether an image is captured on film or on a camera with an image sensor. In the hands of a master of the medium, the digital image can become a masterpiece.
Often the digital image is enhanced by use of a computer and software, like Photoshop, or some other program that can be used to alter and improve the digital image. Some digital artists are masters at altering images. I often hear disparaging remarks about images that have been altered by Photoshop. These images are accused of being nothing but visual trickery. However, I am maintaining that there is artistry and mastery involved in the manipulation of digital software. Real skill is required. In the early days of film photography the same type of pejorative statements were made in reference to dark room tricks, printing tricks like dodging or burning. I don’t think that Weston’s photographs are in the least bit diminished by his dark room tricks. The tools available to the digital artist are an amazing set of tools, indeed, but one must learn to use them properly, artistically, and with discernment.