retrieval pictures. 2001
Artware on touch screen computer, magic pad.
From the Series “Experiments with a Reader”.
Code by Colin Gay.
UX and news archive collected by Michelle Gay.
Artist statement: My artwork often employs touch sensitive devices as a way to engage and immerse viewers into the projects. I think of my own computational artworks as visualizing information, proposing that computer-based artworks (and data) can be experiential, socially engaged, even poetic.
In this work, I use touch sensitive screens and track pads as a metaphor for exploring memory and forgetting within the realm of digital media. retrieval pictures uses software that has been custom programmed by my long time collaborator Colin Gay.
In the works – retrieval pictures: Volumes no. 1 and no. 2 – a viewer strokes the input device to reveal visual fragments on LCD screens. One’s touch reveals only a small segment of the full image (digitized records global political events – from Abu Ghraib to the Wall Street Bankers before Congress – culled from print newspapers), then fades into pixel debris when your fingers move. I use the software and ubiquitous technology, to explore our inability to remember and/or our desire to forget. In the retrieval pictures you can never ‘see’ the entire image at once, the viewer is asked to use their minds eye to recreate the whole.
I note as well that our way of consuming information is changing rapidly. In the time that I have created this anachronistic paper archive, we have seen the personal digital tablet appear as a way of consuming news and media. Perhaps even more ephemeral than material newspapers – news has become ‘information glimpses’. I have designed the interactivity in this work to offer more ‘data’, more detail of the image, only when the viewer physically slows down, paying against the game-like, point and click, ‘fast information’ that we expect of our devices, our interfaces.