Digital Palimpsest(s)

Digital Palimpsest(s)
2017-2020
Giclée prints, video, programming, digital manipulation

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This project will be exhibited at the Ulrich Museum of Art in Wichita, KS, in 2020.

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An Incomplete List of Questions in Response to A. P. Vague’s Work

Vague’s work is open-ended and mutable, rooted in processes that allow him to iterate on his ideas over and over, so that every final product is a palimpsest – a layering of traces of ideas and experiments always liable to become the starting point for the next work.

At the heart of the art one finds questions about how we trust images, how they communicate their meanings, and how they create a sense of connection to events that are remote in space and time. These questions don’t have easy or definitive answers, nor is Vague interested in finding such answers. His mind keeps wondering. In the same spirit, here are a few of the many questions that his work raises in my mind:

•Does a photographic negative still bear the imprint of the moment it was exposed, even if the visual information is blurred beyond recognition?

•In the age of fake news, Photoshop, filters galore, and truthiness, what can we believe about an image? What can we trust it to reveal? And can image-makers be trusted at all?

•How might these images change our thinking about the claims that we humans make about our perceptions of reality?

•In the face of a coming deluge of algorithmically-generated images with no “originals,” will we need to evolve a more nuanced language for discussing visual reality, facts, objectivity, and subjectivity?

•What is the relationship between human and artificial intelligence in these works? Who is the creator? Whom do we credit and for what?

•If machines no longer need humans to generate immersive image worlds, does that de-center human perception in radical ways? Does the pinnacle of human ingenuity paradoxically bring to an end the era of anthropocentricism? How do we as humans feel about that?

-Ksenya Gurshtein
Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Ulrich Museum of Art

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