I Thought I’d Escaped the 20th Century, Artist Statement


This video is a seamless loop comprised of 500 one minute variations (video duration: 500 minutes). It’s exhibited in a lightbox or as a projection.


A World Without Divisions

Today’s focus on political issues involving migration and cultural or religious conflict, along with challenges to received notions of tolerance and who we should love, has heightened our awareness of the divisions we’ve inherited. By contrast, this work is a seamless, perfect whole. It flows endlessly as time unfolds around us. I Thought I’d Escaped the 20th Century dramatizes the dissolution of traditional ideologies and old models of belonging. What’s taking form in its place is a fluid reformation and renewal of alternative social forms.


Dissolving 20th Century Materials Into Pure Idea 

I made this work out of six photographic colour gels. I often work with filmic, plastic, or paper detritus from the last century. To work with these objects using this century’s tools, they need to be converted into math (zeros and ones) and then reconstituted into images. In other words, they have to travel through an intermediary stage of pure idea, on their way to realizing a new form. This relationship between physical form and applied mathematics is where we now live. We all have to hunt now for spaces that are livable within that reality. An invitation to transform ourselves is implied.


Art’s Mega-categories

One of my ongoing pursuits is to explore the offbeat zones where traditional time-based art forms like music and cinema, and non-time-based forms like painting and photography, meet and exchange energy. This artwork is my trying to strike a perfect balance between these mega-categories. It has no beginning, middle, or end, it’s post-durational. It’s suited to exhibition modes where we don’t know when a viewer will enter the room.


Variations & Liveness

Thousands of changes have been built into I Thought I’d Escaped the 20th Century using a (mostly) patient and meditative animation coding process. These variations are central to the work, they are how it remains live, or ‘alive’, through constantly evolving difference.