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Angry Meditation Cruft (Stone Mind)

Automated computer code samples audio from a a streaming radio station, mixed with muzak from grocery stores in 1975 and recent news images scrapped from Yahoo! News.

Hogen, a Chinese Zen teacher, lived alone in a small temple in the country. One day four traveling monks appeared and asked if they might make a fire in his yard to warm themselves.

While they were building the fire, Hogen heard them arguing about subjectivity and objectivity. He joined them and said: "There is a big stone. Do you consider it to be inside or outside your mind?"

One of the monks replied: "From the Buddhist viewpoint everything is an objectification of mind, so I would say that the stone is inside my mind."

"Your head must feel very heavy," observed Hogen, "if you are carrying around a stone like that in your mind."

Deservings Cruft

This cruft program started running every 30 minutes beginning on August 1st, 2017. These 48 daily auto-generated images are a residue documenting this moment as we bear witness to the breaking news coming out of Donald Trump's White House. In the age of Trump, there is no other news.

... All friends shall taste
The wages of their virtue, and all foes
The cup of their deservings.
—King Lear Act V, iii
deservings cruft

Ecce Homo

The ongoing Ecce Homo series of mixed-media images are electrostatic prints that 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.

Ecce Homo ("behold the man") are the Latin words used by Pontius Pilate when he presents the scourged Jesus Christ, bound and crowned with thorns to a hostile crowd shortly before his Crucifixion. These images are created in response to political changes unfolding on a global scale. Two specific events that triggered the making of these images were the British vote to leave the European Union, known as Brexit, and the election of Donald J. Trump as the 45th president of the United States. The Ecce Homo series of images bear witness to this political change.

Value Meal Cruft (Trumpet Mix)

Automated computer code samples audio from a Donald J. Trump speech, and various streaming radio stations. Images from various fast food restaurants are also downloaded from online sources, which are then combined into this fragment of an audio collage inspired by Vaporwave.

Cenotaph Cruft (Intermission)

This cruft video consists of images from CNN's coverage on the morning of September 11th, 2001, with manipulated samples of streaming radio. The middle section is a computer voice reading content from Breitbart News, accompanied by selections of elevator music with an image of a tropical beach.

Twittering Machine Object/Performance

The twittering machine is wheeled forward onto the stage, a small wind chime hangs inside the cage like structure, ringing as it moves. A handle is turned, and a small camshaft raises and lowers a platform covered in feathers inside the cage. As the handle is cranked, white feathers begin to squeeze through the wire mesh of the cage, falling to the floor. The mixed audio of Donald J Trump and Frank Sinatra begins to play, amplified by the orange cone. The handle continues to be cranked, feathers issue forth. The sound stops, and the twittering machine is wheeled off stage.

Twittering Machine

Premise Cruft

This cruft algorithm extracts images from the CNN home page once every eight hours. The headline text is parsed, and the images from this page are then manipulated, enlarged, cropped and turned into grayscale. The text is then pasted into the red fields generating the final image. Viewing the archive one can see the limited range of changing news stories, seeing clearly where CNN wants us to focus our thinking. Just like the magician's misdirection, we focus on one hand, so we are no longer thinking about what the other hand is doing.

premise cruft

Sabot Cruft (Nine Quilts for MOVE)

This work was created during my artist fellowship at The Hacktory which is part of the Department of Making + Doing in Philadelphia. Upon my arrival I began to think about the places and things in Philadelphia that I was familar such as Independence Hall, the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and the Liberty Bell.

Due to a fortuitous change in accommodations I soon found myself driving daily through West Philadelphia. Like other large cities such as New York and Chicago, Philadelphia was reminding me that one only needs to turn a corner to find that one street separating neighborhoods of affluence and those of poverty. Each day I imagined passing through the thin membranes separating these neighborhoods, trying to sense the pressures pushing from both sides. These nine quilts are created using breaking news images gathered from Philadelphia's 6abc Action News - WPVI website.

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Mandala (Occam's Razor) Cruft

This cruft algorithm extracts an image from the CNN home page once every eight hours. The image is then processed into a mandala, with the addition of the original source image and caption. CNN presents a constant stream of images of violence, potential terrorism, and the imminent hurricane or earthquake, as well as the daily dose of political polarization. As an artist I want to take these powerful source images and convert them into equally powerful images of peace. I hope you enjoy them, while also being reminded of the transformation from which they were created.

mandala cruft

Load (Obama) Cruft

This CRUFT is the result of my consuming and digesting the words of President Barak Obama as well as the associated images offered up by the Internet. This algorithm begins by downloading the transcript from Obama's weekly video address, and passing his individual words as search terms into Altavista Image Search. The results are processed using a genetic algorithm that allows photographs with less color to be more likely to survive, causing the the images and text to slowly break down and gradually fade to black.

Dirge Cruft

Everyday this cruft uses recent information located on the website of the Department of Homeland Security. The latest security information is downloaded and combined with the name of the current season, as well as words associated with that time of year. All of these words are arranged in a kind of poem/haiku/dirge and uploaded to this site.

after Unifying
after Unifying
Unifying origLink CAVORTING lo

Babel (shadows in the rear-view mirror)

Description of the Live Art Event:
The Department of Homeland Security and images reflected back from the Internet on Yahoo! Image Search are combined with computer voices and audience members reading manipulated text simultaneously in a composite of ever dense sound and image, resulting in a gradual loss of legibility.

This performance consists of a laptop with a printer and a projector. The computer code runs and scrapes text from the Department of Homeland Security's website. The common English words are removed, and the remaining text is passed to Yahoo! Image Search. The images and text appear projected with various degrees of opacity, overlapping and flickering in an ever changing composite of images. The sound of a metronome is heard at 60 bpm. The audience watches as the images continue to build, and at various intervals a computer voice speaks the words as the printer prints a long paper trail of text in a vertical column. The paper is passed from person to person, each audience member then reads the text. This continues to build slowly at first, to an ever complex and dense cacophony of spoken word, computer voice, flickering images, and the sounds of an inkjet printer.

Red Queens Race (surveillance machine)

This is a performance piece that uses computer code, that scrapes recent text from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's blog. The text is sorted, common words are removed, and each remaining word is passed to Yahoo! Image Search. The resulting images are dowloaded. An audio file plays, which is spoken word from the book "Zen Mind, Beginners Mind." My web camera is on, and my image is shown on the desktop. As the audio plays, one of the downloaded images pops up, which I then close. These images continue to appear in pop up windows. The code creates a screenshot, which I then drag to the bottom of the screen. More images are downloaded and opened onto my desktop. I continue to try to close the windows. A second and third audio file of the same spoken word begins to play. More images open. More screenshots are created. More audio files play. I attempt to close the images as they are opened, but over time, the speed increases, and eventually as more of the same audio files begin to play, my entire desktop is overtaken. The race ends when the entire 8 gigs of computer memory is full, as hundreds of images and audio files are opened until, out of memory, the screen goes black and the machine stops in one long slow meditative hum.

Placebo Cruft
(Reparation for Events Real and Imagined)

This cruft algorithm selects search terms from a compiled list of life events that most people document with photographs. The search term is passed into Yahoo! Image Search, one of the resulting images is selected and a nostalgic filter is applied. With our network connected mobile devices the time between living an event and documenting that event has collapsed. The Internet is becoming one large database of shared social experiences that this work relies upon as source material. Every time this program runs, an image is pulled from this database, processed with a filter not unlike those used by Instagram, shared on my website, and then archived. This new CRUFT builds upon the collected images uploaded to the Internet, to create an ongoing narrative speaking to reparation for events real and imagined.

Needing to have reality confirmed and experience enhanced by photographs is an aesthetic consumerism to which everyone is now addicted. Industrial societies turn their citizens into image–junkies; it is the most irresistible form of mental pollution. Poignant longings for beauty, for an end to probing below the surface, for a redemption and celebration of the body of the world—all these elements of erotic feeling are affirmed in the pleasure we take in photographs. But other, less liberating feelings are expressed as well. It would not be wrong to speak of people having a compulsion to photograph: to turn experience itself into a way of seeing. Ultimately, having an experience becomes identical with taking a photograph of it, and participating in a public event comes more and more to be equivalent to looking at it in photographed form. That most logical of nineteenth-century aesthetes, Mallarmé, said that everything in the world exists in order to end in a book. Today everything exists to end in a photograph.

On Photography, Susan Sontag

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Reparation For Events Real and Imagined (tile #9)

For this series of paintings, I selected images from the Anesthetic, False Positive, Placebo, and Phantom Limb Cruft. These cruft are made from the collected database of our socially shared experiences found on the Internet. Photographed memories of so many others are selected by the algorithms, and then later selected once again by myself, these images are taken from this shared database and converted from bits to atoms, transforming ephemeral memories into egg tempera, one of the most traditional and permanent mediums within the history of art.

Reparation For Events Real and Imagined (tile 9)

Blue Colic Cruft

This computer program downloads an image from the web of a surveillance camera located in Southern Illinois. The camera points at a pastoral scene consisting of a row of trees next to a country road, and in the distance is a small body of water. I was struck by the simplicity and beauty of this image, contrasted with the knowledge that someone for some reason is watching. What is the purpose of surveillancing such a peaceful place? When the CRUFT computer program downloads an image from the camera, as well as a short sample of news from the National Public Radio, they are copied and repeatedly manipulated by the algorithm, creating a short video that mashes together two different kinds of streaming data in what becomes a violent stuttering cough.

Panopticon (Fragments) Cruft

Working in collaboration with the Department of Homeland Security, I produce this cruft by processing recent information on the government web site, transforming text into a short poem. Images from an online surveillance camera used to ensure our safety makes a record of all activity. These surveillance images are processed into a video and the poem becomes the scrolling text along the bottom to create this Panopticon Cruft.

Cliff Dwellers Cruft (Drone Study #4)

A series of images captured from a CCTV camera in New York City are processed to produce a ghost like animation. Native American cliff dwellers were at the peak of their technological development circa the 12th and 13th centuries when they appear to have left quietly... Some theories include climate change, prolonged drought, topsoil erosion, de-forestation, and hostility from new arrivals. This cruft is a study for the work-in-progress: Machine Vision: Images of Drone Landscapes.

cliffdwellers cruft

Crude (1 minute memory tondo) Cruft

We don't do body counts
   -- General Tommy Franks

This Crude Cruft is a composite of a daily image from the Department of Defense (http://www.defenselink.mil/today/), images of a waving American flag, and the events of recent Iraqi civilian deaths obtained from Iraqi Body Count (http://www.iraqbodycount.org/).

Data Loss (Corruption) Cruft

This cruft algorithm downloads a recent photo from the Whitehouse.gov website as well as a report published by The Bureau of Investigative Journalism listing U.S. covert drone war casualty estimates. The text file of casualty estimates is literally inserted into the binary code of The White House photo. The drone war information becomes hidden from view, but corrupts the image producing visual distortion often referred to as a glitch. This work uses digital leftovers, consisiting of information either usually forgotten, or in the case of the drone war information, it is usually hidden, and in the process this cruft re-generates a new image by altering the data, which then reminds us of it's origin.

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