surfacecollider.net is home to an ongoing research project by Artist James Irwin exploring the point at which code becomes image. James is a Researcher at the Contemporary Art Reseach Centre, Kingston School of Art.

*** UPDATE, June 2021 ***

This site is currently in development. Images, text, audio and 3D environments exploring distributed subjectivity at the threshold of the screen will be added over the coming months.

Current Abstract

This practice-based research uses the digital display as the site of image production to explore the effects technological immersion has on our subjectivity as it is produced through our entangled embodied relationship with digital imagery. The research focuses on what is at play when we look at images through screens. The art works that accompany the project have evolved and developed in line with various levels of technological immersion to excavate and interrogate what is happening at the threshold of the screen at the point at which code becomes image.

Our individual engagement with the digital image is complicated by the network. As we use computers and devices to engage with images on screens, we become entangled in the production process; our gestures, mediated through touch (of screen or mouse), bring about the emergence of new images. As we use our bodies here as wetware to translate code into sound and image, we become a crucial part in the image production process. At the same time, the technology beyond the screen gains agency. We become dispersed and fractured by our digital appendages. What precisely is happening to us at the point at which code becomes image?

The digital image is now ubiquitous, thanks largely to the proliferation of smartphones, wireless technologies, and social media platforms like Instagram. My investigation is concerned with what happens when digital images are produced by our subjective engagement with the technologies that house them. The screen or digital display is the site and subject of the problem here. How can we better understand points of engagement with digital images through the screen, so that we can begin to work with them on more critical terms?

This project is a means of slowing down how we engage with images made using computers. By critically engaging with code-based images using fine art practice the resulting artworks open space for critical thinking by detangling our entangled relationship with the digital image.