The amount of information we are likely to encounter in our lives is increasing exponentially. Just online, 3.2 billion images and 720 000 hours of video are shared every day. The visual data we are subject to daily comes from a mix of conscious engagement with specific sources, algorithmic suggestions and subconscious absorption from our surroundings. In times of such acceleration, our evolutionary tactics that stem from the survival priorities of our ancestors can become flawed. As a result, the personal systems we construct to order all this information, relate it to our context and turn it into knowledge are full of fault lines. Instead of diminishing, these errors are amplified over time as we feed knowledge back into the range of other formal and informal systems that operate within our world.
The works shown as part of SIGNALS actively withhold information. Their individual sources are ambiguous and the exact processes used to produce them difficult to identify. Steve Oliver builds his photographic works in-computer; he uses images found in extensive online database searches, where he attempts to balance the optical and incidental against algorithmic predictions. Although seemingly cohesive at first glance, his compositions collapse when we pause for long enough to notice their impossibilities and contradictions. Jonathan Whitter’s augmented reality sculptures are a result of feeding coded data through an enfolded digital space, a point within a mathematical object that sits outside the binary code, where measurement is unquantifiable. When data is continuously passed through this point, the simultaneously explicate and generative order forms the sculptures which change upon close inspection and expose their constant flux.
The exhibition resists the quick forms of interpretation we have developed to deal with the digital age. The works encourage a slower, more focused interaction with visual information and the strategies we employ to filter it. We can notice our instinct to extract a signal and form meaning to better fabricate our position in the world; all the time aware of the fallacies of our own processing systems.