Nathan Wade is a young digital artist at the DXArts University of Washington whose recent work Serial Cyborg has been well received. I watched a video presentation by him and this helped me to clarify what it is that I’m trying to do with my work. In particular the notion of extracting a subset of data from an existing database and then re-imagining this data as an art object, or Data Mining as he calls it, was exactly the type of language I needed to talk about my work.
The process of slicing data and then laser cutting or hand cutting also proved to be much easier to control than 3D prototyping, and now forms the basis of my work.
Other similarities include the notion of letting the machine make the work, and contributing as little human input as possible. I’m aware that this stance is ironic is so far as of course the human artist is controlling the whole process, but the drive to reduce the arbitrary rang true. On a recent trip to Falmouth, Barbara Rauch got an adapted CNC milling machine to make a large (2m*2m) drawing from a series of her scanned data. When the drawing was done she found it intriguing to consider whether it was *her* drawing or the machines.
This distancing of maker to the made is something that appeals to some digital artists, and on occasion I’ve claimed it to be the central challenge of digital art, to remove the artist. Anyway back in the real world I can also see connections between Wade’s work and Rosso’s as should be apparent from this next image. In both cases the battle between representation and abstraction rifles through the work.