Electric Dreams

Curator's Note

 The accompanying clip was shot as a companion piece for my newest painting entitled Conversation 3. I am working on a series of paintings that develop from the dialog struck between analog and digital worlds. The painting is constructed of wood, oil, and wax and measures six feet high and eight feet wide. Oil paint and wax are applied directly to the wood in phases; I repeat this process until the image appears as a blend of physical and digital worlds.

Glitch aesthetic plays a key role in my work. I argue that, like glitches, dreams also result from corruption, compression, and the reorganization of memories. Dreams and glitches exist in the breakdown and build-up of information during transcoding.  Computation dreams through glitches and these electric dreams resound in pixilated images, spinning pinwheels, and loading icons. 

Corruptions through the compression and reorganization of memories open up new virtual spaces that encourage our virtual-selves to explore. Glitches explore the horror of corrupted memory, but they also reveal new possibilities.

I am currently painting Conversations for the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia. This is my second series of paintings utilizing the glitch aesthetic. Glitch art is a fairly recent addition to visual art – although some might argue that proto-glitch imagery resounds in the work of Surrealists, Dadaists, and Avant Garde filmmakers like Man Ray and Louis Delluc. Glitch art captures the imagery of digital failure. Artists may use a combination of pure glitch (glitch that occurs organically within computation) and glitch-alike (images manipulated to appear similar to pure glitch) to create pieces of glitch art.

Conversations draws from pure glitch and glitch-alike to create an additional layer between physical and digital worlds. The inspiration for this series comes from my own reoccurring childhood dreams in which I struggled  to reconcile my virtual/dream family with my real family. Dorothy’s journey is similar to this struggle and I wanted to manipulate these iconic images to reflect and blend the relationships between real/virtual-selves and analog and digital spheres/worlds.




Thanks for posting and talking about your work here, Luis! The connections you're making are fascinating.

I wonder whether a sense of powerlessness is also part of what makes glitch and tales like The Wizard of Oz (or Alice in Wonderland) "horrible." I remember as a child being frightened, not by the witches in the Wizard of Oz, but by the notion that I could be snatched away from my surroundings at any moment. "Falling through a worm hole" idea.

Glitches, dreams, disruptions remind us that we, as humans, cannot control everything. This runs counter to mainstream culture, which bombards us with messages that we can control nature, our bodies, technology, our lives. This relinquishing of control can be quite horrible, for some, but perhaps also liberating too?

Your idea of real-self and virtual-self is similar to Amber Case's theory of first and second selves. In her TED talk, Case argues that through the integration of online personas, humans have realized their cyborgness. She studies the symbiotic relationships between humans and machines.

I think your interpretation of digital dreaming draws from Case's logic and I highly recommend you check out her TED talk.

The dialog between analog and digital media is apparent in your work and I enjoyed the companion video very much. The imagery you use is very comfortable, very homey -- but the distorition (conversation between analog and digital media) disturbs the mind indeed.

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