writing the unreadable
© Darren Marsh drawing

We shape our tools, and thereafter our tools shape us
John Culkin

Through our technologies we create our civilisations
Pascal Chabot, The Philosophy of Simondon: Between technology and individuation.

Through history technology has shaped successive civilisations and may be read as an expression of a society. It's purpose was once that of mimicking human activity and advancing the efficiency of human labor. Technologies now exploit their own functionality, bypassing any need for human reference. These systems in turn influence our activities and behaviours.

As technology has developed, we've seen our relationship with it change. Technology has shifted from a 'tool' under control to that of collaborator and sometimes autonomous entity. In contemporary society technology and mechanisation are commonplace features of our daily lives. Dialogue between ourselves and our technologies influence each other in an ongoing feed-back loop. We are tool makers and we use our tools to shape our world.

Algorithms are a type of technology that constitute the basis of computer programming. They consist of a series of instructions which are then followed to resolve a problem. Given a set of parameters an algorithm will run through a range of variations with the aim of producing the best possible option or permutation of options. Put simply, they take an input and create an output.

Due to the amount of data currently being generated in our lives we are now living in a world increasingly influenced by algorithms, and this technology shapes us as much as we shape it. From search engines, online retailing, social media, health, city trading to Policing and National Security algorithms are being designed to judge, measure and create value for our lives. They are never neutral or arbritary.

The work 'Writing the Unreadable' has emerged from an ongoing interest in how technology and creativity interface. Computer designed templates, mass produced pigments and an algorithmic mechanised working methodology have been used to mimic simple digital gestures such as iteration and emergence in order to generate a complexity in the final image.

In this work the subjective is withdrawn from the drawing process and the artist is required to act as an instrument under instruction by the system. The algorithm provides the means to produce an outcome. In the process leaving a distinct footprint on the result.

Darren Marsh 2014

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