Artist's Statement, Tim Head, November 2011

A Treacherous Light

Thin walls of metal and plastic seal off the digital dimension from the sticky tangle of our contaminated world.
In this quasi-dimension physical space is collapsed and a different order of space fills the void – discrete, efficient, precise, finite, airless.
The digital dimension is a clean shadowless place lit by a treacherous light.
Bathed in its insubstantial glow we absorb its pale agitation daily.
Even though the tick of its binary pulse is out of sync with our own, we are addicted to the giddy rush of its fevered indifference.
Behind the slippery surface of its chilled delivery lurks an underlying emptiness, a sense of something not wholly satisfied.

The work focuses on the digital medium's elusive material substance and it's unsettled relationship with the physical world. It uses the medium's physical characteristics that make it uniquely different from other media. Bypassing its usual role of representing images and texts, the work deals directly with specific basic material elements – the luminous fabric of pixels on a screen or digital projection capable of displaying over sixteen million colours, the flurry of microscopic ink droplets laid down by the inkjet printer, and the hidden calculations of the computer operating in real time at ultra fast speeds that drive these elements. The medium's underlying material substance is exposed, moving it out from virtual space towards the same physical space that we ourselves occupy.

Computer programs for the digital projections are written to generate unique events in real time. The agitated surfaces of the projections are composed of randomly selected colours, each occupying a single pixel and filling every pixel on the screen, and programmed to change or move in particular ways across the screen as fast as possible.

The programs written for flat screens select a succession of random colours to fill, or attempt to fill, the entire screen as fast as possible, bringing to the surface the medium's physical characteristics of instability and speed.

The work using digital inkjet prints changes the prescribed role of the commercial inkjet printer, diverting it from a sophisticated reproduction machine into a direct primary printing medium. Specially written programs talk directly to the printer, generating unique decisions in real time for all its printing operations (the colour and location of each droplet of ink laid down along horizontal lines) and expose the physical grain of the inkjet print.

© Tim Head 2011