I strictly use images found online and I do this specifically as a commentary on contemporary news media. I think a way that many artists have brought up a discussion about contemporary media has been to mimic the medium in the artwork itself, and I think this is a mistake. We all know what contemporary media is, from the junky-media platforms to social media platforms. It is central and defining of how humans now interact. In the case of social media platforms in particular, we have moved beyond the idea of social media as technology or "other", as a device. It is as normative to our experience as the sounds that come out of our mouths. We all "do it". So, replicating what that looks like, to me, is a totally inert undertaking; it goes nowhere; it tells us nothing.
What I am focused on is the effect of living with social media and in particular what constitutes "news". Taking a quick step back: I have spent most of my adult life supporting myself working in social media technology, specifically on the media creation side of that equation, so I am both deeply versed in it but also very aware of its failings, in particular the ad and data driven side of both the technology and the business. So, I choose my images directly from this giant reservoir in order to bring to life both very real subjects, that is, to produce a very real commentary on the content itself, in particular what could be called "the underlying violence of empire" and secondly as a commentary on the effects of the medium itself. I think it would be impossible to deny how social media has transformed the world. It has risen to heights of adoption that no other technology has at such a fast pace. It is in every corner of humanity, and it is shaping our political landscape in ways we could have hardly imagined. Can it be put to good use? Has it? Can it be put to bad use? Has it? What are the effects of all this information sharing and all the devices in play to manipulate it? What are the effects of the so-called "social bubbles" of like-minded ideas, institutions, media companies and people that we find ourselves in? These kinds of questions are not just academic in my view, they don't just nag at humanity, I think they are central to our potential survival. Social media and the content that we add to it could very well may help us unite and save humanity from the brink; it could also, and arguably has also, sent us further over the edge.
I'm no prophet and I'm certainly not a luddite, so I ask these questions earnestly with my work. That is why I don't pull in personal images from my life or even the lives of people around me. That is not the discussion my work is engaging with whatsoever. My work is not about the unseen life or deeply personal experiences of my personal history or anyone's personal history. My work is about the massive data stream pouring into our heads 24/7 telling us about the ugly truth of empire that we seem to somehow glaze over and make ok. I don't suspect that the enforcement and expansion of empire has ever been a pretty project, but is that really true? Are things perhaps uglier? Or are we more sensitive, in a positive way? Or a negative way? How has the moral arc of humanity bent? Are we missing an incredible opportunity right under our noses, seeing all of these terrible events take place, our own 24/7 reality-reality show? Should we be doing more and yet somehow we've been lulled to sleep by these flashlights on the world that live in our pockets harping at us to like, comment, emote to them? You'd think they'd awaken us. Have they? Are we collectively waking up and this is just what it looks like or are we falling asleep at the wheel?