notes and progress

The Project History

above is the full 18min work.

Tales of a Digital Immigrant began with the working title Drinking Beer with Robots and was to be a graphic novel constructed from press clippings, drawings and ephemera. I had produced a book in the late 70’s titled I’ve Been Had!!! and enjoyed the play between text and picture. Drinking Beer With Robots was to be a second book and I had begun the process when life intervened.

The idea for the small book was a series of visual prose poems about progress. These were not particularly connected by a single narrative but elements in the poems would dialogue to shape a recollection web. The notion had the cubist sensibility of time and space in parallel rather than an a single unfolding sequence. The poems touched moments when the thrust of progress imposed itself on our culture. They described transitional events – the first eavesdropping on party-line conversations, the advent of automatic phone notifications, and the giant which television brought into our homes.

The work got shelved when the publisher’s house was set ablaze by faulty wiring and the work sat entombed in a green plastic three ring binder for years while I dealt with with mid-life issues and an overpowering quest for contentment.

I believe small life decisions make or break the creative process. For a while I chose to study rather than make. The difficulty of teaching of an unfolding technology as a material for making art was all consuming.  I was intrigued by the playful possibilities of the electronic image. It was cute like a runt kitten. A cloud of decisions balanced the requirements of personal sustainability against the time and focus it takes to get to the studio and produce.

The work lay fallow for more than a decade.

Memory is the penchant of an old man.

In the intervening years I became skilled in using 3D tools and began to think more about what and why events stick in our minds. Often verbalizing our memories is a process of “filling in the blanks” or embroidering narratives to refresh their value.  Was there was a visual equivalent?  The process started again by digitally reconstructing places and events I remembered. These moments included a childhood field populated by a single tree, the garage in which I played with matches, my first experience in a video store, and a man who had a keyhole carved into his iris.

Memories are like dreams. We connect them to our present because they are useful means of predicting complex patterns. Predicting what might happen by threshing our memories helps us to avoid accidental death. What I believe we do as humans is to make order from chaos even if the order doesn’t make much sense. This is our primary ability as humans – it is what differentiates us from our technology.

These posts are thoughts specific to this project.

Other Projects

Small Brains on Mass

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