Jason Lee Starin ACD MFA Practicum Spring 2011

An Absolute Survey of Unthinkable Complexity

My practicum project asks the viewer to locate themselves simultaneously in physical, digital, and virtual space. The viewer enters a room containing wooden columns that stand on the floor, a digital projector which projects images of similar looking columns on one wall, and mirrors that face each other on parallel walls. The mirrors create the illusion that all of these elements are one and the same: the physical columns, the digital images of the columns, and the virtual images of columns in the mirror.

This experience offers varied representations of the same form, made manifest as well as illusory, to act as orientation points within our consciousness. How will people adapt mentally to the continuing loss of the physical object, a growing cultural tendency?

From the viewpoint of a craftsman, I ask how craft thinking will adapt as a creative discipline to this new phenomenon. I suggest that it will continue to help us locate ourselves in space, in other words, it will to continue to define our identities, as it has done in the past. Non-material qualities of craft objects, alluding to craft process, will be called upon to help sustain our continued survival.

My perspective is that of a maker, or more appropriately producer, as it suggests making within a consciousness that has been developed from these two realities. Form, which was previously dependent on physical laws and limitations, has gained a new perspective. As digital technologies have done away with the barriers of physical properties, new sensibilities will develop through their continued use. Once the potentials and limitations of digital material have been made conscious through use, we will then see how their properties impact the physical, in a reciprocal and influential manner.

My opposition is that an illusion of sameness falsely sustains our expectations of how digital technology ought to be received. It also creates assumptions of controllability when perceived solely on a tactile basis. I ask the viewer to relinquish their desire to comprehend this space by purely physical or virtual means, and accept the current situation in a new way: as a suspended moment of which to consider new hybrid definitions of space, form, and more importantly, self. This multi-sensorial experience is a bodily one, which includes the eyes, the hand, as well as the brain. As Mark B.N. Hanson states, “… the absolute survey can be said to exemplify the task of art as process in the information age: to frame information in order to produce new images and, we must now add, new forms and spaces as well.”

MFA Applied Craft and Design Program Award

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Jason Lee Starin ACD MFA Practicum Spring 2011