In 2014 I curated an exhibition The Negligent Eye at the Bluecoat Gallery in Liverpool as the result of longstanding interest in scanning and 3D printing and the role of these in changing the field of Print within Fine Art Practice. In the aftermath of curating show I will expand on this material with reference to the writings of Vilém Flusser and Hito Steyerl.
The work in the exhibition came from a wide range of artists of all generations most of whom are not explicitly located within Computer Arts. Whilst some work did not use any scanning technology at all, a shared fascination with the particular translating device of the systematizing ‘eye’ of a scanning digital video camera, flatbed or medical scanner was expressed by all the work in the show. Through writing this paper I aim to extend my own understanding of questions, which arose from the juxtapositions of work and the production of the accompanying catalogue. The show developed in dialogue with curators Bryan Biggs and Sarah-Jane Parsons of the Bluecoat Gallery who sent a series of questions about scanning to participating artists. In reflecting upon their answers I will extend the discussions begun in the process of this research.
A kind of created attention deficit disorder seems to operate on us all today to make and distribute images and information at speed. What value do ways of making which require slow looking or intensive material explorations have in this accelerated system? What model of the world is being constructed by the drive to simulated realities toward ever-greater resolution, so called high definition? How are our perceptions of reality being altered by the world-view presented in the smooth colourful ever morphing simulations that surround us? The limitations of digital technology are often a starting point for artists to reflect on our relationship to real-world fragility. I will be looking at practices where tactility or dimensionality in a form of hard copy engages with these questions using examples from the exhibition.
Artists included in the show were: Cory Arcangel, Christiane Baumgartner, Thomas Bewick, Jyll Bradley, Maurice Carlin, Helen Chadwick, Susan Collins, Conroy/Sanderson, Nicky Coutts, Elizabeth Gossling, Beatrice Haines, Juneau Projects, Laura Maloney, Bob Matthews, London Fieldworks (with the participation of Gustav Metzger), Marilène Oliver, Flora Parrott, South Atlantic Souvenirs, Imogen Stidworthy, Jo Stockham, Wolfgang Tillmans, Alessa Tinne, Michael Wegerer, Rachel Whiteread, Jane and Louise Wilson.