Angry Meditation Cruft (stone mind)
THE STONE MIND
Hogen, a Chinese Zen teacher was walking on the mountain pass with one of his young students.
The teacher kept silent while the student spoke the entire time of Zen and the mind. After some distance the student and her teacher reached a giant boulder.
The teacher inquired softly of the student, "There is a big stone. Do you consider it to be inside or outside your mind?"
The student replied confidently, "In Zen everything is an objectification of the mind. Therefore I would say that the stone is certainly within my mind."
The teacher smiled. "Your head must be very heavy, if you are carrying a stone like that in your mind." The two walked the rest of the way in silence.
CRUFT: Art from Digital Leftovers
I make work that spans computational art, performance, installation, painting and object-making, using collage, remix, automation, indeterminacy, and randomness to bear upon the computer and the Internet as machines that regulate and restrict just as much as they can be used to disrupt and resist dominant codes of seeing and being.
My art practice reflects on our relationship to media technologies, especially surveillance and mind control, and in the process contemplates what a post-human art may look like. Organized under the umbrella concept of Cruft, I take apart, juxtapose, recycle, and interrupt the relentless flow of media to reveal a relationship in which we don't simply consume media, but are also consumed by it.
Digital collages called Cruft are created by scraping the web using computational algorithms that remix mainstream media sites like CNN with social networks of individuals, and reproduce, in mimicry of the 24/7 media cycle, the narrow choices permitted in public discourse. In another series of recent work, Machine Vision, I recombine footage from surveillance cameras with other media, to explore the relationship between war, surveillance, and automation within an overall machine aesthetic.
Misdirection as Mass Deception
Like the magician performing sleight-of-hand to deceive and misdirect the eye, those in power tell us where to look and what to think. The mass media provides the stage where the deception unfolds focusing public attention with emotion and fear. Having been in lower Manhattan on September 11th 2001, I experienced first hand the collision of terrorism and warfare into spectacle, magnified by our network connected screens. The media showed images of the planes impact and the buildings collapse in a repetitive loop. Screens became weapons of terror, the system of representation was hijacked and we were forced to relive those terrifying moments by viewing images presented as a never ending present. In 2003, as the United States invaded Iraq, I began to notice how the media presented images that contributed to fear and consensus, and as the images disappeared from view, I wondered what became of these digital leftovers.
These events and ideas were the catalyst for the Cruft series which are auto-generative works that appropriate images from web sites. The hacker term "cruft" refers to unpleasant substances, superfluous junk, and redundant or superseded code. I make Cruft by writing automated computer software that scrapes the web using algorithms that remix mainstream media images from sites such as CNN in a process that mimics the 24/7 media news cycle.