Super excited to have a new project “Visible Effects of the Invisible” featured in the latest October issue of Art in America! It’s a project commission that accompanies the article “The Digital Non-Visitor” and features eight images made from digital 3D captures of the American colonial displays at the de Young Museum in San Francisco. Using a free downloadable app on my iphone and following all the museum’s public policies on photography, I was able to scan objects that reflect the slippage of history and meaning within museum displays. For me they’re a kind of re-telling — a version of a narrative of power and American history that is complicated and rife with interpretation.
I produced this project over five hours in the museum in July 2016, photographing and uploading hundreds of files directly from my iphone to a third party server, where the 3D renderings were processed. With few public electric outlets at the museum (what, really?) I was getting power by plugging in to hallways near the basement bathrooms and attempting to “capture” and process everything while on site. The challenge was to have the entire process entirely created and encapsulated by my single visit, and without alerting the museum to what was happening.
The resulting images are distortions, interpretations, and a slippage of meaning when objects such as colonial-era silver made by anonymous Mexican artisans under Spanish rule, ornately-carved mirrors next to contemporary surveillance cameras, and marble statues of slaves are “captured” next to oil paintings of the ruling elite. Museums present narratives that may hide as much as they reveal, and the mutated technological representations reflect the objects’ inability to speak their full realities.