Ecce Homo: Trace Evidence

The Ecce Homo: Trace Evidence images are created in response to Donald J. Trump's policy of institutional child abuse taking place on the Mexican border. These images bear witness to a time when our government creates orphans by permanently separating migrant children from their families. I bear witness to the defense of the indefensible. Refusing to call a cage a cage does not transform a cage into a chain-link partition. In Donald Trump's America migrant children are incarcerated.

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Creative Research

CRUFT: Art from Digital Leftovers
The Internet has the ability to provide freedom by connecting us at great distances, democratizing the world's knowledge, and facilitating disruption and resistance to systems of power. It can also simultaneously provide control by restricting and regulating our thoughts and actions while propagating fear, divisiveness, surveillance and repression.

The relentless flow of information on the Internet that soon becomes digital leftovers is examined by my art practice to reveal a relationship in which we don't simply consume media, but are also consumed by it. I explore the Internet as source material to be appropriated, taken apart, juxtaposed, and recycled by writing computer code that is automated and runs on a 24/7 schedule producing a form of collage I call Cruft. The resulting artwork allows me to explore broader issues of originality, authorship, reproduction and temporality.

Social media platforms encourage divisiveness and Internet search results push us toward tribalized extremes. We have become addicted to our screens and are now captive to our Google / Facebook / Twitter / Amazon echo chambers. In response to the intense pace and constant change happening online, my art practice includes a slower and thoughtful method of applying traditional media such as charcoal, paint, wax and ink, to prints of selected Cruft images. These analog images offer the opportunity for slower looking and deeper thinking compared to the crushing overload of an endless stream of Cruft produced by automated computer processes. The analog art is created over longer periods of time resulting in a meditative process that subverts the goals of speed, spectacle and distraction as presented by social media and the Internet. My work explores the nature of the Internet, it's strengths and failures, producing a post-Internet art that reflects the networks effect on our society and culture.

Robert Spahr
Carbondale, IL
August 2018

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About Me

Past exhibits include The 20th International Generative Art Conference, Exhibition & Live Performances, at the MAR, Museum of Art and Classense Library in Ravenna, Italy 2017; Artist Statement: Exhibition and Publication at 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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