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Trough Cruft (post-american nude)

This cruft process downloads and manipulates an image from an adult website giving it the retro look of a newspaper or comic book. An episode description from a VH1 television reality show (www.vh1.com) is added to the image.

The irony of the "rise of the rest," Mr. Zakaria notes, is that it is largely a result of American ideas and actions: "For 60 years, American politicians and diplomats have traveled around the world pushing countries to open their markets, free up their politics, and embrace trade and technology. We have urged peoples in distant lands to take up the challenge of competing in the global economy, freeing up their currencies, and developing new industries. We counseled them to be unafraid of change and learn the secrets of our success. And it worked: the natives have gotten good at capitalism."

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/06/books/06kaku.html


CRUFT: Art from Digital Leftovers

The relentless flow of information on the Internet that quickly 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 investigate broader issues of originality, authorship, reproduction and temporality.

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 are created over longer periods of time resulting in a meditative process that subverts the goals of speed, spectacle and distraction, offering an opportunity for slower looking and deeper thinking compared to the crushing overload of an endless stream of Cruft produced by automated computer processes.

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. My art practice delves into the very nature of the Internet, pulling at it’s strengths and exposing the flaws, producing what has been coined Post-Internet art, that by definition references the "network" that we all inhabit, and ultimately, it's effects on our society and culture.

Robert Spahr
Carbondale, IL
August 2018