I am interested in visual images as traces of thought that betray those mechanisms that allow us to generate internal and external representations of the world. Representational images allow us to reflect not only on how we attend to the world, but also how we categorize and conceptualize every unique moment of embodied life. At the root of my practise is an epistemological position where subjects and objects are considered mutually constructive. As subjects, we read into the world and ignore variation to focus on the abstract and quintessential aspects of objects; these aspects are as much a function of our imagination as they are of the world independent of us.
We unconsciously build mental simulations of the world that mirror our constructed culture and facilitate perception. We require such simulations to resist the constant barrage of the world as independent of our perception of it, lest we recoil into the abyss of constant flux, randomness and noise. This constant tension between subjects and objects is the very core of our nature. We believe we understand the world as independent of us, but the incomprehensible creeps into our minds, throws off our predictions and subverts our expectations.
In my practise I use computational systems, image-making and empirical knowledge to examine the co-constructive nature of subjects and objects. I build Machine Subjects that manifest foundational processes that carve imaginary boundaries into the underlying continuity of the world. My machines categorize, organize and reduce the infinite complexity of the world as independent of thought. Machine Subjects participate in a process of abstraction that breaks sensed structures into atomic particles that serve as the raw material from which new structures are constructed. The resulting ‘mental’ images are of the world—their mechanisms uncover underlying statistical truths, but they are also of us—they depend on projections of subjective imagination.
At the core of my practise is an examination of the relation between humanity (in particular brains and mental processes) and computational systems that we increasingly use to model and extend our intellectual capacities. I am interested in an examination of the technical and cultural implications of seeing ourselves through the lens of computation as we increasingly offload ‘intelligent’ tasks to machines.
In some of my recent work, machines learn from cultural artifacts rather than embodied sensory information. These artifacts are cultural products through which we understand the world and ourselves. In deconstructing, categorizing, predicting and reconstructing cultural artifacts, I emphasize the tension between subjects and objects. The machine is both an alien subject attempting to understand our culture and a cultural object that manifests our understanding of ourselves.