Red Ink Cruft
"Money is overthrown and abolished by blood."
- Oswald Spengler, The Decline of the West
"Let me tell you a wonderful, old joke from Communist times. A guy was sent from East Germany to work in Siberia. He knew his mail would be read by censors, so he told his friends: "Let's establish a code. If a letter you get from me is written in blue ink, it is true what I say. If it is written in red ink, it is false." After a month, his friends get the first letter. Everything is in blue. It says, this letter: "Everything is wonderful here. Stores are full of good food. Movie theatres show good films from the west. Apartments are large and luxurious. The only thing you cannot buy is red ink."
This is how we live. We have all the freedoms we want. But what we are missing is red ink: the language to articulate our non-freedom. The way we are taught to speak about freedom – war on terror and so on – falsifies freedom. And this is what you are doing here. You are giving all of us red ink.
- Slavoj Žižek at Occupy Wall Street protests in New York
This cruft algorithm extracts data from the Dow Jones and a still image from the live video feed of the Occupy Wall Street protest. This CRUFT provides a simultaneous view of the progress of the occupation and the markets.
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.