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An internet user today can be connected to the web on a nearly constant basis through a variety of devices, and the rate at which data is exchanged has never been faster. This is a huge shift from the slow download rates and dial-up connection speeds from as little as fifteen years ago. I believe our relationship to, and perception of, the internet has changed just as drastically, and has become more complex as we begin to address the changes and problems that come with incorporating the internet into our daily lives. In response, I have worked to create a visualization of cyberspace that I intend to be both awe-inspiring and unsettling.
Instead of the fast-paced, linear, often celebratory depictions of digital space that are currently seen in pop culture, my paintings feature skyscraper-like structures suspended in midair. The scenes I have created are intended to be dead spaces with no grounding, atmosphere, or signs of life. The decisions I have made regarding the composition and formal schemes of these cityscapes are intended to evoke the mood of a digital ghost town: calm, quiet, and eerie. To me, these cityscapes express a variety of concerns about the digital age, among which are the speed with which we digest and abandon information and entertainment, the fragmentary nature of our identities on- and offline, and the disillusionment with the internet as a utopic frontier.
These images borrow heavily from the visual language of early 3D graphics. This references computer-generated imagery in a direct way that the realism of contemporary 3D rendering cannot. There is also an allusion to video games in the way that I construct these cityscapes, particularly in the bright colors and the glitchy, off-the-map nature of the images. The use of this sort of visual language, however, is not intended to portray a world tied specifically to video games, but a vast digital realm that includes them.
I originally create these floating, abstracted cityscapes in a 3D modeling program. Instead of displaying the digital renderings of these cityscapes, however, I chose to painstakingly re-create these images in oil paint. My intent with this is twofold. First, painting the images creates a contrast between old and new methodologies to foreground the idea of technological change. Second, I want to resist the way that the internet has sometimes been romanticized in popular culture, especially during the early 90's. By using a medium that has long been associated with deep feeling, that requires intensive manual labor and skill to manipulate successfully, and that results in a unique object (unlike the potential for unlimited digital prints), I make use of the romantic aura painting retains, in order to undermine it through a deadpan and inscrutable tone.