A digital image is stored as data on server racks, hard-drives, sticks, discs and other electronic physical forms. It can be exported to papers, plastics, metals, stone, marble, flesh, organic matter and other minerals and materials from the natural and built world. While the soft virtual somewhat hardens as it translates into non-electronic media to be shared and stored, it enters a new fragile temporality. Will anything remain from the world of today that we have entrusted to data, or will the digital pass, like all things potentially must, and drip into decay?
The vast, dynamic and growing network of interconnected information that we have collectively built is a temple of artifacts and an archive of the contemporary. Its files are urns and scrolls to carry the traces of our being at this time into history. However, this project of memory is held within an unfathomable system out of our control, to a structure that is arguably ruinous and prone to loss. Times' certainty of change is fought by our fraught desire for things to be had, to be remembered, to remain, and remain unchanged. Such a force of dynamism creates difference and impermanence. Our cultural archive lies at the edge of an abyss of void and noise. Meanwhile, winds blow in from paradise, and the vision of a comet ever approaches…
For CONTEMPORARY LEGACIES at Fort Delta, Tara Elizabeth Cook presents a body of hybrid digital and material works that reflect on the possible legacy of the contemporary world as entrusted to data. The show includes a collection of digital prints, sculptures and video works that evoke a state of melancholy over a potential state of future loss. Alone in a dark, bleak environment, 3d rendered images of ancient artifacts are altered, distorted, cut out and framed by digital means. Born from Cook’s ongoing research into data loss, information compression and digital ruin, the works are high definition and yet obscured, virtual and decayed, figurative and yet abstracted. The artist seeks to engage with concepts of duration, memory and the archive in relation to the disseminated, manipulated and stratified status of the mediated image. The exhibition provides speculations on the changing nature of the image and its experience under the conditions of the digital age.
TARA ELIZABETH COOK is an Australian contemporary artist, currently based in Melbourne, Australia. She works as a practice-led researcher and research based artist, currently undertaking a PhD at the VCA, University of Melbourne. Her practice and research attempts to better understand the nature of the digital image and provides speculations on our relationship with technology. Cook was the founder and Gallery Director of New Low, an Artist Run Initiative showing contemporary media work in Melbourne from 2011 to 2013. Her work and research has been exhibited both locally and internationally including at The Museum of Contemporary Art, The Sydney Opera House, ISEA International, Gallery Barry Keldoulis, Carriage Works, Chalkhorse, First Draft, The Pera Museum, Screen Space, Blindside, White Night, Gertrude St Projection Festival, Roundabout Projections, Propaganda Window, Fringe Festival, Channels Film Festival and Next Wave.