IMAGINARY BOUNDARIES: PART II
Alex Carmichael/Samuel Capps/Emma Charles
15 September– 08 October 2016
IMAGINARY | BOUNDARIES was an ongoing project as part of a curatorial residency undertaken by Sophie Nibbs at BEARSPACE in Deptford. The project involved three exhibitions over a period of 3 months. This residency was made possible through support from National Lottery and Arts Council England.
With the ever-increasing reach of new technologies, the boundary between the real or imagined experience can be manipulated, investigated and even re-created. Imagination is no longer the realm of the internal mental world. The brain can be stimulated to produce audial and visual hallucinations, parts of our brain that are activated while we dream can be measured and replicated and there are also increasing possibilities to create new worlds that can be experienced and explored. Technology is allowing the creation of the imagined into something tangible, and in doing so calls into question our understanding of the physical world we inhabit.
It is increasingly difficult to draw a clear boundary between the physical and digital words, rather there is a space that has been created that appears to exist between the two. The digital world is far from a passive and controlled creation, instead having an increasing impact on the way in which we live our lives, as reality and the imagined become increasingly indistinguishable. IMAGINARY | BOUNDARIES seeks to bring together artists who are exploring the way that new technology is manipulating the boundary between the physical and digital and in some cases questioning whether this boundary exists at all.
Emma Charles is a London based Artist working with photography and moving image. Primarily focusing on the ethereal and abstract elements of industry and corporate environments, Charles’ work often transverses the boundaries between documentary and fiction. More recently Charles has situated her research towards the materiality of the Internet, going beneath the urban veneer to uncover the hidden infrastructures within our technologically driven modern life, paying particular attention to the spaces at which opposites collide.
For this project, Charles presents Fragments On Machines, a film that reveals the physical framework and materiality of the Internet, a vast network often thought and spoken about solely in abstract terms. Adopting the title from Marx’s Grundrisse, The Fragment On Machines, in which the material and immaterial are discussed in relation to labour. Taking New York City as its central focus, the film observes the evolution of architecture in the city to accommodate the material nodes and connectors that comprise the physical manifestation of the “virtual” world.
Samuel Capps is a London based Artist and Curator. His practice is concerned with the dissection of the modern built environment through an inter-disciplinary approach. He is interested in exploring the human impact that has created the epoch of the Anthroposcene and the sociocultural effects this condition may create. This interest extends to radical projections of our future landscape, be it in a post-nature world or a post-human.
His practice also considers the representation of our current and future spatiality, the affect that new technologies will have on creating new spatial contexts and our perceptional displacement to a new digital sub-dimension. Capps’ meticulously replicates digital phenomena through experimentation with a wide range of techniques. His pieces sit between the realms of the physical and digital, real and imagined. Included in this project is a new work by Capps Superposed Silicon Incubator.
Alex Carmichael is a London based Artist who works in a variety of mediums. For IMAGINARY | BOUNDARIES Carmichael presents Machine Perception, a series of 24 photograms. The images in this series of prints are derived from online documentation of machine perception experiments. The documentation typically consists of a grid, or a set of points or lines, super-imposed over a human face to enable computers to recognise facial expressions. In the process of making these works, this digital map is extracted and used to create a photogram directly from the light of the computer screen.
Together these images comprise a survey. This kind of facial recognition technology is still in the developmental stages and each research group has its own approach to mapping the face, with varying levels of sophistication. The survey records an evolution in mapping; from traditional geometric triangulation (used to map our environments for millennia) to high resolution, one to one scanning. The project reflects the narrowing gap between synthetic and real, the map and the territory, a situation that has profound implications for how we experience our environments. The works enable us to inhabit the gaze of a machine and to view ourselves through its eyes.
Sophie Nibbs is a London based curator with an MA in Contemporary Art Theory from Goldsmiths College, UoL, and a BSc in Psychology from the University of Manchester, who has worked with a number of arts organisations in both London and Berlin. Her most recent independent curatorial project was an exhibition and event entitled ‘Pronoia’ in London in 2015. Nibbs’ written work has been published in City Journal, and Anthology III - AOTCS Press.