Home / Work / Bread & Circuses

bread & circuses cruft

Bread & Circuses Cruft

"Bread and Circuses" was a plan devised by Roman Politicans to win political favor from the poor, and to rise in power, by giving out cheap food and entertainment.

... Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man, the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time handed out military command, high civil office, legions — everything, now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses.    (Roman poet Juvenal, circa 100 AD, Satire 10.77–81)

Three source images are used to create this Bread & Circuses CRUFT. Using data collected from the log files of the Yahoo! search engine, a selection is made from the top ten most popular search terms, which is then used as the search query on Yahoo! image search. From the results an image is selected along with one from the whitehouse.gov website and a still image from a webcam located inside a dairy farm. These images are all processed into a composite CRUFT called Bread & Circuses.

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.