Finally started to make again! In January this year I was invited to be the guest artist in printmaking at the University of Texas at Austin. During this time I began working in the fabrication department with Professor Eric McMaster (Lecturer, University of Texas at Austin; Manager, Digital Fabrication Lab) to create a laser cut matrix. The laser cut tests are part of a body of work that aims to bring together ideas associated with ‘Remake’ and physical making approaches that align with Post-digital practices. The image above entitled After Clement Valla was constructed at UWE to begin visualising some of my ideas for the series.
In the first academic semester of 2018/19 I will be exhibiting the international student print exhibition ‘Looking through the eyes of machines‘ in UWE’s F-Block Gallery. The work will be on show for two weeks between the 17th and 28th September 2018. The exhibition will present artworks from UWE’s BA Illustration, BA Graphic Design and MA Multi-Disciplinary Printmaking programs alongside the BFA Printmaking course at MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, USA). The third and latest addition to the show includes the Faculty of Fine Arts of the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. UCM were included in the exchange show as part of a graphic arts symposium that I attended in 2017.
UCM students approached the technologically themed brief in a variety of different ways. The multitude of approaches maybe best interpreted as either creative responses to a question, or extensions of existing ideas that resonated with the brief. Interestingly the UCM student’s explored similar perspectives to the previous student participants, namely dystopian undercurrents and possibilities toward the humanisation of digital technology.
For example, artist Edward Jobst Andrews Gerda responded to the entanglement of loss and memory in a moment where digital technology (and especially social networking) has enacted the possibility of outliving our physical bodies.
Artist Tania Tsong de O’Pazo practice explores the relationship between material and sentimental space emphasizing the need for contemplation in an age of immediacy and mass production.
Laura Valor’s print combines intuitive methods with automated systems, bridging communicative strategies toward a fusion of human and binary languages.
Estela Barceló Molina series Prememoria offers insights into the humanisation of digital technologies. Here manual labour aligns with a critical making movement where time is uncompressed and ‘imperfection’ offers possibility.
Julia Garcia Gilarranz project attempts to bridge the mapping of space through body movement. The work explores sensor technology and the interactive potential of digital tools to record external information and represent physical phenomenon – as ghost images. The complete set of images from the UCM students can be seen below and a PDF description of each project can be viewed here.
Laidler, P. (2018) Mapping Post-digital Practice in the Graphic Arts, Printmaking Today, Vol 27 No 2 Summer, p.15 ISSN 0960 9253
It has been suggested by a range of established commentators that digital technology may have potentially created a ‘mental change’ within the creative process of making images and objects. Although this statement is somewhat broad and our ability to understand change often requires a certain amount of time to have passed (before the significance of an event may be better understood) the compulsion to begin considering these ruminations has been central to my own practice and the subsequent initiation of the ‘Looking Through the Eyes of Machines as Students’ exhibition. The project is an international print exchange between Graphic Arts programmes at UWE (University of the West of England, Bristol, UK); MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, USA) and UCM (Faculty of Fine Arts of the Universidad Complutense de Madrid). The curatorial premise for the exhibition is a practice based inquiry that aims to begin mapping a Postdigital response to making in the graphic arts. The exhibition presents a cohort of emergent student and graduate practitioners from the disciplines of Fine Art Printmaking, Graphic Design and Illustration and will be exhibited at the Impact 10 Printmaking Conference in September 2018. Full version of article available at Cello Press
Many thanks to The Eugeniusz Geppert Academy of Art and Design in Wrocław, Poland for hosting an exceptional conference in December 2017. The team at the Wrocław School of Printmaking invited a range of speakers including artists, theoreticians, researchers and students to comment on the topic of Post-digital Printmaking. The event also included a number of exhibitions that demonstrated the breadth of ideas being explored in this emergent area of the graphic arts. I have recently had my conference presentation Looking Through the Eyes of Machines accepted for publication in the Summer 2018 edition Printmaking Today. The article is an overview of the presentation and provides some insights into an ongoing inquiry.
In December I will be attending and speaking at the Post-digital printmaking. Redefinition of print Conference in Poland. The conference is hosted at the Faculty of Graphics and Media Art, The Eugeniusz Geppert Academy of Art and Design in Wrocław. The conference is a continuation of the numerous events related to the post-digital aspects in printmaking organized by the Wrocław School of Printmaking. In 2015 I exhibited the Print is Dead series as part of the academies exhibition entitled Post-digital printmaking. Redefinition of the Concept of Matrix . This year I will be discussing the Looking Through the Eyes of Machines project, an inquiry that will begin mapping a Post-digital response to making within the Graphic Arts.
Eugeniusz Geppert Academy Conference Call:
Printmaking was always based on experiment. Sensitive to new trends, Printmakers have never been afraid to integrate innovation into their field. This attribute remains symptomatic also in post-digital era when Printmakers are still eager for new technologies. As a result, this discipline is still alive and vigorous. Though evolving into the unknown, leaving many question marks on its path, it can be seen that the digital revolution has not destroyed the printing tradition.
It has been suggested by a range of established commentators that digital technology may have potentially created a ‘mental change’ within the creative process of making graphic images and objects. Although this statement is somewhat broad and our ability to understand change often requires a certain amount of time to have passed (before the significance of an event may be better understood) the compulsion to begin considering these ruminations has been central to my own practice and the subsequent initiation of a practice related project entitled ‘Looking Through the Eyes of Machines as Humans’.
The technologically informed scene for the project comments on the emergence of Post-digital making in the Graphic Arts and seeks to examine how technology has expanded conceptual and procedural possibilities for making prints. The exploration of both digitally mediated production methods and themes that are symptomatic of a digital age attempt to speculate upon or reveal forthcoming incarnations of a Post-digital mindset. For example, the continuous integration of digital technology into all aspects of our lives is having a profound impact on how we physically interact, communicate, make and respond to phenomena – tactile sensibilities that may recede or mutate as the digital native matures.
The initiation of the project has taken the form of an international print exchange between Graphic Arts programmes at UWE (University of the West of England, Bristol, UK); MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, USA) and UCM (Faculty of Fine Arts of the Universidad Complutense de Madrid). The curatorial premise for the exhibition is a practice based inquiry that aims to begin mapping a Post-digital response to making in the graphic arts. The exhibition presents a cohort of emergent practitioners from the disciplines of Fine Art Printmaking, Graphic Design and Illustration.
An exhibition curated by Klaus Speidel that explores what ‘the digital’ means for drawing today: http://xpo.studio/project/project2/ The below quote and conference offers a range of different perspectives where artists are both utilising the associated tools and processes but perhaps more interestingly responses are extending to ‘the digital’ as a subject to coment on. Speidel’s insights also offer possibilities of a ‘mental change’ when artists are conceiving works for todays connected world.
‘…but whatever the themes explicitly addressed by the works in the show, one thing is clear: many of the creations on display will be appropriated, tweeted, tagged, commented on, shared or liked, conveying new meanings and even undergoing visual transformations as they appear on profiles or facebook walls. In a certain sense, the “after digital” dimension of drawing is just one – particularly interesting case – of the influence of the former on the latter and it could be argued that we live in a time where even a marble statue is, in a certain sense, prone to becoming digital’. PDF to the event conference speakers: https://drawingroom.org.uk/uploads/WhatistheDigitalDrawfinalprogramme.pdf
Recently been invited to exhibit my on going ‘Print is Dead series‘ (something I have written / talked about but never exhibited) in Poland at the Wrocław Academies Centre for Applied Arts and Innovation. The exhibition is in conjunction with the recent International Print Triennial in Krakow 2015 and will coincide with a symposium exploring the redefinition of the print matrix – so the exhibition title goes like this, ‘Post-digital printmaking: Redefinition of the concept of matrix’. The event has been curated by Prof. Aleksandra Janik from the Wrocław Academy and the exhibition is on show from 02/11/2015 – 19/11/2015.
The exhibition presents examples of printmaking works as well as the documentation of the creative process including, films and texts of artists who use formal and aesthetic values associated with printmaking – although in a less conventional manner. Artists have been selected for their approaches to printmaking and ‘uncharacteristic’ thinking about the print matrix – by using alternative materials and tools that enter into a dialogue with the third dimension and the public space. The exhibition will therefore present works that challenge print related classifications; the disciplines associated ephemera and performative actions that often feature within the printmaking medium. The curatorial foundation might be best described as a creative two-stage thinking: matrix-print.
This year was the first year CFPR Editions (officially) awarded a UWE (University of the West of England) graduate print prize. I had been thinking about involving more graduates within the editions practice after writing an article on MiAL (Made in Arts London) and their promotion of UAL graduate artwork at Art Fairs. To coincide with these thoughts I have also (more recently) become part of the lecturing team on the MA Printmaking at UWE – so collectively it would appear that the print moons were aligned for such a prize to happen. Previous UWE (unofficial prize winning) graduates have included Carolyn Bunt (MA Printmaking) and Arthur Buxton (BA Illustration). The CFPR Editions prize offers a graduate the opportunity to be represented by CFPR Editions at Art Fairs and associated exhibitions. The award goes to the graduate who’s practice exhibits a contemporary approach to printmaking and engages with a technological theme that underpins the curatorial premise that I put in place for CFPR Editions. The 2015 CFPR Editions Prize was won by UWE MA Multi-Disciplinary Printmaking graduate John Ford.
Ford’s practice embraces traditional printmaking and photography with three dimensional and computer aided elements. His work uses simple materials to build models based on sets from dystopian films such as Lars Von Trier’s Element of Crime and (in this instance) Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner. Ford’s capture method involves taking photographs of his models and re-photographing them on a laptop screen, distorting the imagery and creating distance between the viewer and subject. Through these processes the work explores themes around reality, illusion and distortion and contemplate a world seen increasingly through television and computer screens.
The work combines hand produced elements with technologically derived imagery, which is important to Ford’s use of different processes and his conceptual approach. The film Blade Runner deals with many of the themes that Ford is interested in, such as questioning the moral implications of advanced technology. The title for the print, Fiery the Angels Fell, is a distortion of a poem by William Blake, where the original line reads: ‘fiery the angels rise’, and is spoken by one of the replicants in the film. The replicants challenge what it is to be human and can only be identified as such through the Voight-Kampff test. Ford explains that he wanted to re-create some of the ambiguity and atmosphere of uncertainty present in Blade Runner by playing with the perception of scale in the final print.
The model for the print was made using balsa wood and tissue paper and was lit from inside the structure. The image is screen printed to capture some of the moire effects caused by re-photographing the photograph of the model from the laptop screen. The screen printed image allowed Ford to methodically mix his own colours based upon the degraded colours of an old CRT screen and achieve a specific muted aged technological effect that we might associate with surveillance.
Will be adding John to The CFPR Editions site soon and if you are heading to the Multiplied Art Fair (Christies, London) this year then you will get to see the real thing.
‘Unlike the remote precision of digital programmes the drawings carry the nervous rhythms and seismic waverings of the hand made’.
– Tim Head
Human’s imitating machines and machines imitating humans brings together all sorts of collisions and transhumanism references. Artist Tim Head’s artwork Slow Life is a hand rendered drawing created according to instructions that are similar to digitally produced images. I’ll explain, the drawing is created according to the results of flipping coins, if the coin lands on heads a horizontal line is made and then a vertical line if the coin lands on tails.