Future Gallery

Constant Dullaart

12 Sep - 05 Oct 2013

Jennifer in Paradise
12 September – 5 October 2013

Jennifer in Paradise is a multiplatform exhibition that will take place simultaneously across physical and online environments. Material venues include Future Gallery and Import Projects. Constant Dullaart’s work explores contemporary modes of access, visibility and (mis)representation associated with global spread of information technologies. The title of this show by the Dutch artist references the first ever photoshopped image, Jennifer in Paradise [1]. Along with online transparency, hidden information and the multi-tiered infrastructure of the web, it is a catalyst for Dullaart’s meditations upon the act of translating between human and machine, image and code, part and whole.

Most commonly used window glass, also known as float glass, has a light green shimmer in it due to the iron in the sand used in its production. Window glass produced prior to the 1950’s, before Alastair Pilkington developed the first industrially produced float glass, will slightly deform reality due to its irregular thickness. In our computer mediated reality, the perception of life through algorithms and filters does not only offer a distinctly expanded experience of life, enhancing our daily agency as if it was on steroids, but also carries various kinds of cultural deformations.

The deformation or distortion of information caused by its mode of communication, which is commonly accepted as medialization, could easily be compared to the deformation of reality whilst looking through glass. Perhaps this is why the analogy of ‘windows’ is commonplace within the computer environment. Everyday we look through different windows online. We have windows looking into our machine, and windows looking outwards, to the Internet. Google’s algorithms give us a different view on reality, or its representation, then for example Baidu (Chinese search engine). Keeping with the analogy, both are windows, with perhaps different types of ‘algorithmic’ glass. Each with a different way of structuring information, with political and commercial motives, shaping the way we look at information on the web. Selecting information for us by way of secret formulas, therefore tinting and shading our online social contacts, or research.

For this exhibition Dullaart presents a new body of glass works, which derive from the 2012 piece http://untitledinternet.com/. When clicking on the website one is taken directly to the Google search page, only there is an distinct brush stroke or sketch like overlay that masks certain parts of the visible information. These randomized filters, created and imposed by the artist, dramatically change the visual landscape of surf experience. The website can be seen as a comment on the way Google displays information, by obscuring the search giant’s web page, while simultaneously turning the entire web into a painted collage. In these new pieces Dullaart abstracts compositions of the filtered images via screenshots. In essence, photographing the web as seen through a dynamic overlaid filter. These images are then UV printed directly onto glass. The white aspects of the image remain unprinted and transparent. Dullaart has also taken the inverse approach by having similar brush stroke like gestures sandblasted or carved directly into sheets of glass. Here we have artifacts of digitally imposed filters made manifest through their visual blockages in transparency.

[1] Jennifer in Paradise is the name of the first picture ever to be photoshopped. Taken by John Knoll, co-creator – along with his brother Thomas – of the now ubiquitous software, it depicts his girlfriend on a tropical beach. The image was digitized by Kodak in 1987 and supplied with early versions of the program. Though initially ubiquitous, it has since become harder to track down. For the online component of this exhibition Dullaart is redistributing a version that contains a steganographically encrypted payload.

Tags: Constant Dullaart