ReVOX / masked was the first piece I made in direct response to the ongoing discussions I have about the nature of the digital vs the haptic. To some extent it’s a fairly redundant debate, as the digital continues to sweep all in front of it, for all the most obvious of reasons. That said, the art world loves to bask in the idea of the hand crafted, so I continue to feel that it’s an area that’s worthy of exploration. To my mind the digital, ultimately, is simply a kind of hyper real contemporary toolset that naturally sequences on from previous technologies, so there is some real interest in creating hybrid pieces that speak to both the pre and post digital eras.
ReVOX / masked is an etching, made with a single copper plate, pulled on a traditional Victorian press by my friend Ros Ford at BV Studios. The subject of the work is a digital alpha mask from my earlier ReVOX study, the kind of mask I would use to adjust a colour on a specific part of an image, so it seemed entirely apt to use this image to create the inked areas on press. In this case an ultra deep navy blue ink, almost black really, until you see it next to an untinted black, and contrast the difference.
From here I’ve been continuing to explore the interface between digital and hand making, but it is critical to understand that there is no ‘virtual cloud’. Digital making is very real, it requires technology, but also hand craft, decision making, physical materials, pens, tablets, drawing, shaping and colouring. It exists on spinning discs and chip media. It has materiality from the very first mark to the final printed work. So the interface between the virtual and real is in fact a far more complex series of material exchanges used to create and define new ways of working, which will in themselves seem antiquated in due course, no doubt.