I started a Masters Degree

Well, this might be considered 'another' Masters, but it is kind of a continuation of the previous one. I am enrolled in a MFA at the University of Calgary. My intentions are to create meaningful work that is not solely created on a computer. This is not to say I won't use digital methods in the creation of the artwork, but I am trying to distance myself from the sole use of digital media.

It is a friction I have within myself that that digital technology must be subservient to a concept in art. Making art because one discovered an interesting technology is not as interesting to me. Idea and concept first, and technology that supports it. I have had several people mention Augmented and Virtual reality but have not entered those arenas. Should a work develop which would benefit from those technologies, I would dive into the rabbit hole to find out what is current and available.

I respect people who are the first adopters for new tech and who push and pull it into new directions. I think that the best artwork using new technology and techniques comes after that initial flurry of exploration.

My first exhibition, Reduced to a Rumor, is a project completed in three weeks that uses concepts developed over the past few years. Reduced to a Rumor uses a computer to generate images, rather than a video being played on a loop. The randomization and unpredictability of a live development of an image, from choosing images to poses and disintegration of form are an important component. In this instance, a digital format was necessary to increase the personalization of each viewers experience.

Reduced to a Rumor is an attempt to recognize the past presence of people in locations, recognizing that every homestead and hamlet, whether they currently exist or not, was bustling with activity. The empty church of today was once a focus for a locality, likewise the crumbling school house or corner store. My goal was to find some visual articulation of the idea of 'presence' that is a modern metaphor for this concept. I chose a low-polygon representation because of the proliferation of these forms in the modern world, through games, marketing and other communication means.
Reduced to a Rumor presents an image of a location, often including buildings or facades, and slowly populates it with people, fading them in. Over three minutes these forms slowly lose their complexity, becoming caricatures and are eventually replaced with a low polygon shape encompassing the space they were in, which itself fades over time.
This transition represents the slow fading of identity for those who populated locations, as decades go by. Their specifics are lost until their presence becomes a rumour or myth, the reality supplanted by a sometimes false folklore. Successive surrounding populations eventually make up the history of these spaces unless they have knowledge of the truth. The early settlers are reduced to a rumour over time. This work is meant to visually represent that reduction.

I have presented this work with a tableau reminiscent of a dining room setting where family members have gathered to watch films from their past. There are chairs and a table, as well as a 8mm projector to reinforce this. Several feet in front is a projector screen of a similar vintage, yet the projected image extends beyond the edge of the screen. This extension of the image is a reminder that what we remember is only a part of what there was. For all visual recording devices, the edge of the frame cuts off the the rest of the world, not letting us know what is beyond the edge of the frame. The figures are predominantly only within the frame of the small screen, they exist only within the frame of the space they were in.

I have big plans for what I will create during this degree, and I look forward to workmen through those results. So much will depend on the development and collection of resources that will enhance my vision, however. From digitizing old family films to scanning homesteads with 3d technology, the collection of resources will be important, but will inevitably play a small role in the final work. An important part of these projects, but not the only component.