Darkling Cruft

This cruft program updates every hour, capturing images from surveillance cameras watching the streets of New York City. An auto-generated animation is created which seems to obscure specific details as it also focuses the viewers attention on new shapes and colors.

For, you know, nuncle,
The hedge-sparrow fed the cuckoo so long,
That it's had it head bit off by it young.
So, out went the candle, and we were left darkling.
—King Lear, Act I:IV


Erebus: Watching the Dreams of Others

The "Erebus: Watching the Dreams of Others" series of woodcut images are prints that begin as appropriated digital images from the CCTV surveillance cameras watching the streets of New York City. The source images of Erebus were created by the Darkling Cruft. From this flowing stream of digital surveillance, selected images were then made into woodcut prints.

Because things are the way the are, things will not stay the way they are.
-- Bertolt Brecht



Creative Research

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 the visual, resulting in our network connected screens compressing the time between living and documenting an event. The media showed images of the planes impact and the buildings collapse in a repetitive loop. Our 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 The hacker term "cruft" refers to unpleasant substances, superfluous junk, and redundant or superseded code.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.

CRUFT: Art from Digital Leftovers
I make work that spans computational art, performance, installation, drawing, painting, printmaking 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. 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.

Ecce Homo (behold the man)
In another ongoing series of mixed-media images, Ecce Homo (behold the man), electrostatic prints begin as appropriated digital images of Donald J. Trump political rallies. These are are manipulated digitally, then scaled up in size and printed. The printed images are then used as the starting point for drawing and painting which simplifies the complexity of the image and stains the subjects.

My creative practice contributes to the field of New Media Art in it's exploration of media and memories shared on the Internet. Through appropriation, chance procedures and automation I call into question artistic intent, craft and the role of the artist. I am investigating one of the biggest challenges of our time, as we struggle to keep freedom in our lives as others use technology to tighten already existing forms of control. I am exploring the nature of this new medium, it's strengths and it's moments of failure and in the process I am contemplating what a post-human art may look like.

View Samples of Work

About Me

Past exhibits include the Artist Statement: Exhibition and Publication, Czong Institute for Contemporary Art , CICA Museum, South Korea, 2016; Art2Code Exhibit and Catalog, College Art Association and Arts Collective V1B3, Washington D.C. 2016; Unknown Territory Exhibition: New Art From The Hacktory, Grey Area Gallery, Crane Arts, Philidelphia, PA, 2014; InterArtive, Culture + Urban Space, Issue #65, Barcelona, Spain 2014; Hz Journal #19, Stockholm, Sweden, 2014; Synthetic Zero Event, Bronx Art Space, Bronx, NY; Generative Art International Conference, Rome, Italy 2013; PRISM Breakup @ Eyebeam, NYC, ReFest / Art+Tech Festival, organized by CultureHub at La Mama, NYC; Neuromast: Certain Uncertainty and Contemporary Art, Franklin Street Works, Stamford, CT; Interrupt II Festival and Conference - Brown University, Providence RI; cgiv2011, Digital Art Gallery, Computer Graphics, Imaging and Visualization, Singapore; DRHA 2010 Conference: Digital Resources for the Humanities and Arts, London, England.

I am currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Cinema and Photography at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

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