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Academic Level at Time of Creation
Date of Creation
In a digital world, things are assumed permanent, because there is no physical body to decay. The information exists as data, not tangible but encrypted and stored in a non-physical, worldwide card catalogue. As a counterpoint, our collective witness to the age of the immediate proves that when reduced to data, deletion or existence is dependent on relevance to the mainstream social sphere. By that sphere I refer to the top percentage of the most viewed and discussed content, the realm where the overlap of viewership creates an almost ubiquity of content across global and cultural divides. In this landscape, even though data may exist, among the swirling maelstrom of The New and The Now it becomes totally lost to anyone not specifically seeking it out. Effectively, it ceases to exist to any other than the ones bearing witness to absorb the information. Humans, then, become the tangible artifact of that information, wholly mortal and susceptible to data corruption over time. Yet, the process of discussion or dissemination of that information then creates a network equally intangible, but interacting with the world that humans experience and existing as several “backup saves” in the minds and conversations of those exposed to that information. People become the access points that persist beyond the life of the data by itself.
Through my work I parallel this process of storing information within people’s memory and in a way memorializing that which has been lost to the archive, often by drawing on my own feelings of discovery at the moment I began to uncover the information presented in the work. By creating physical objects that engage with the viewer to either consume or dispense information, that viewer becomes an artifact of that information and interaction. In this way I parallel the rhythm of give and take online, where content is consumed, digested and then remixed and re-presented through the unique experience of the individual. I can synthesize information online, form a question or a point of investigation then respond to it through building objects designed for interaction that emulates my own. Through use of readily accessible technology like QR codes or GPS tracking I can store information and manipulate it in the physical world, controlling how that information is experienced to make it more accessible and engaging to a physical viewer. This can exist as manipulating and revealing data within a video or as QR codes revealing the function of the object at hand by storing files to be accessed at will. The experience of discovery of the new or hidden becomes a motivating factor in my work, I want the moment to be a more complete and alive memory within the viewer, thus, a longer lasting save file. The information, then, becomes as much of an artistic decision as color, shape or design, and in equal measure I consider how each can lend itself to a more seamless interaction between the viewer and the content I’ve revealed through the work. Much like information surrendered to the internet, at this point the work leaves my hands, once the interaction is completed the viewer is the guardian of that experience. Within their own mind they make the decision to consume and forget or remember and re interpret, creating even more connections to the network of experiences around that work.
Ultimately that is my goal, to uncover and reveal things too quickly forgotten amidst the hailstorm of that which is most new in a preservation effort. The information that slips through the cracks I seek to pick up, piece back together and place back on the table for consideration. I feel a responsibility to bear active witness to the information that I consume and find important for others to know. My work becomes the medium to transfer this knowledge, to share what I’ve found both directly and indirectly, direct in that my hand shaped the work into its state and indirectly in that viewers are free to interpret that information in whatever way they please. This draws another parallel to the way we interact online, we post photos, videos, thoughts and feelings with the intention of sharing a moment, giving the feeling of being somewhere, experiencing something together, but often that facet of the experience is out of our control. You cannot control how others will react to your political post, your selfie, your essay or your recordings but the need to share drives us towards connection, and even in negative reaction to the information you share, people exist as the only physical remembrance of that moment.
Michael T. Martin; Chris Lavery; Kristen Reeves, Antje Gamble
Craigslist Memorial, plastic dropcloth, black trash bags with screenprinted images, 18' x 18' x 9' 2
Re: Dial, video compilation, voicemail recordings
The Comedy Cycle, video compilation
Life Cycle, broken laptop, cracked smartphone, security cable, QR codes, constructed video, 3' 6" x 2' x 8"
Delivery, projected video compilation, Google Street View images, delivery receipts, rounded thumbtacks, 21' x 14' area of wall space
Repetition(We Love It), projected video compilation
Suggestion Box, wood enclosure, shelves, paper, tape dispenser, pens, shredder, 6' x 4' 8" x 11"
Gallery:Live, personal laptop, livestreaming utility, display monitor,
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License.
Hahnes, Matthew, "Internetworked" (2018). B.F.A. Practicum Exhibition (ART 498). 35.