PlotsDigital video, 00:00:19. Additional media: projector, plinth, black fabric.
4 digital prints with plastic wall fastenings, 42 x 29 cm. 10/2016.
Room sheet writeup for Dedspace Gallery, March 2017:
'Emerging cross-disciplinary artist and SCA Honours candidate Bethan Cotterill’s practice challenges popular dichotomies in tech culture, exposing expressive and mechanical, natural and digital as complex marriages by using homemade IOS apps to reinterpret image data as surreal objects. Bethan’s works in Plots explore how sculptural ideas can stretch the function of an image, directing our understanding of digital images towards abstraction and concretion simultaneously.'
This year I have been exploring how sculptural ideas can stretch the function of an image. Plots does so in opposite directions simultaneously, directing our understanding of three images towards both abstraction and concretion.
The three floating figures are 3D renders plotted using coordinates based on the RGB colour code of each pixel of each image (e.g. ‘rgb(0, 0, 0)’, ‘rgb(0, 153, 76)’) – the codes that allow digital screens to understand colour images. The height of each plotted coordinate corresponds to a pixel’s brightness, determined through addition of all its 3 RGB coordinates (i.e. white scores highest as it is ‘rgb(255, 255, 255)’), so the shape of each render reflects its tonality and colour. Each image is, in its code form, both an image and a 3D object.
Though they read as objects in code form, the renders stand further from concretion after translation into code than they did as digital photos, which were direct reflections of concrete scenes. I chose to re-translate the renders to a degree of concretion by projecting them onto concrete forms. In this projected form they achieve, however, only a weak illusion of concretion. They are immediately recognisable as digital renders; they defy the laws of physics that dictate how objects look and move. ‘Real’ objects follow those laws: in the space of time, as light and weather and their surroundings affect them, they follow set narratives for movement and decay. Plots has no such narratives.
In its installed form, hovering between abstraction and concretion and without interaction with the parameters that allow us to understand ‘real’ objects, Plots locates an intersection of technical and ontological ambiguities between ‘image’ and ‘object’.