Drawing_in_the_Media_Stream Project Statement

The process of creating the drawings for this installation comes from our long standing critique of the compulsive production of images that are fed 24/7 into the global media stream, and the resultant loss of short and long term memory that this glut produces. While in the glare and glut of these images, we are compelled to question what an “image” is, and by extension, what is representation and realism, and how visual memories are now constructed. We ask ourselves the question: how can any meaningful representations and lasting memories be created from the extremely temporary representations produced by the 24/7 media stream.

This installations is an attempt to negotiate the collision between traditional forms of perceptual drawing and visual memory making with what Paul Virilio has identified as techno culture’s headlong plunge into “visionics”, machine-based, sightless vision and image making. Visionics is techno culture’s new visuality, based completely on synthetic, machine-based vision, automated perception and contemplation. The drawings being created for this installation are not a rejection of the “industrialization” of vision, but rather, are hybridizations: creating drawings, representations, and visual memories from immediate personal perception and from the perceptions of the new super synthetic vision machines.

With the invention of the printing press in the 14th century, and continuing through the birth of mass media machines during industrial revolution, and on up to the present digital age, machine-aided vision and machine-made images have profoundly transformed our notion of what an image is. Today, an image is no longer a static, analogue, one of a kind object with one point of reception, but rather, it is a dynamic, navigable, digital file that can be viewed simultaneously in thousands upon thousands of discrete points of reception around the globe.

In essence, an image is no longer an object but an event, the meaning of which is not static, but is also dynamic, mutable, ever changing. Of necessity, the drawings being made for this installation do not claim the privileged position of object hood, but on the contrary, enter into a dialogue with the images flowing nonstop through the relativistic environment of the global media stream.

The marks that make up a machine made image have also been dematerialized and have become an integral part of the global image/event/stream which is created and destroyed simultaneously. In the digital realm, marks are no longer discrete traces left behind on a stable surface, but rather, are infinitely mutable bits of data with no stable location in time or space. In the relativistic realm of a bitmapped or a vectorized image, marks and the surfaces they are presented on are more akin to the transitory light and shadows that make up the moving images of computer-based video and animation. The visible marks that momentarily coalesce on screen are part of a hyper ephemeral representation that never comes to rest in the comfort of our conventional senses of representation or realism.

With the status of the image now being primarily event-based, its function in the formation of historical and personal memory has undergone a radical transformation as well. Virilio frankly points out that “visionics” has thrown serious doubt on the veracity of human vision, and the mental images we collect in our minds to form. It is in this tenuous but compelling space and time of doubt and questioning that we are now drawing and thus memorizing our way through the media stream. This installation is an attempt to draw in the liminal space and time between object and event. The “reality engine” that will power this installation is the 24/7 global media stream that flows in torrents of virtual and analogue images.