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distress cruft

Distress Cruft (my fellow americans)

Visitors to the Empire State Building are required to have their photo taken. This security photo is cleverly disguised as a tourist friendly service with a beautiful night view of the Empire State in the background. You and your party then have the ability to purchase this photo as you leave the building. (When I tried to opt out of the photo, I was specifically told I could not for security reasons.) This cruft process downloads one of these photos and creates a composite image with an American Flag.

Section 8a. of the Flag Code states: "The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property."

View: Distress Cruft U.S. Postage Stamp (Self-Portrait)

CRUFT: Art from Digital Leftovers

My work includes traditional art practices in drawing, painting, printmaking, and sculpture. Recent work includes generative art, performance, installation, and network based art. My arts practice explores the Internet not just as a distribution platform but 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. Computer code is automated and runs on a server which at specified times goes out to the Internet and scrapes source material from the web to then produce a form of digital collage. Each auto-generated Cruft is the digital residue created from the information flowing through the Internet at that moment. This work is then automatically uploaded to my web site for distribution to the viewing public. My work on Cruft has encouraged me to think about the nature of the unique art object and it’s dematerialization, from atoms to bits, allowing for potentially infinite copies.

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 and I then started creating auto-generated Cruft.