Cristinerose Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of Post Digital, the first solo exhibition by Boston-based internationally renowned artist, graphic designer, and computer scientist JOHN MAEDA. Post Digital, an exhibition of new mixed media constructions, attempts to establish a relevant relationship between digital technology and the handcrafted object.
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John Maeda rejects the use of the computer as a glorified replacement for the palette and paintbrush, and furthermore rejects its much vaunted interactive aspect. According to Maeda, the ability to create visual artifacts on the computer, even when they are interactive, does not in the least represent the real expressive power of the true digital conscious.
What kind of art can we make with the computer? What is the computer? Why does it get more complex every day? John Maeda strives to solve these questions through the construction of a variety of art objects which embody the spirit of computation, as communicated through their physical form. In his work there is an emphasis on the artist's philosophy of "less-tech" (versus "high-tech" or "low-tech"), which implies a sensitivity to incorporating enough technology into creating art.
John Maeda is frequently credited with pioneering a revolution in computer-driven graphic design. His computational systems have transformed the way designers think about color, typography, and the printed page. A new generation of designers has felt his influence through his teaching at MIT's Media Lab as well as his invention of such graphical tools as RadialPaint (1994). His much-acclaimed 1999 Web project and book Design By Numbers offered a new, visual paradigm for thinking about computer programming.
In the exhibition, Maeda presents four variations on a theme: the interface between the analog and digital worlds. His Process Blocks (2000), for example, bear the marks of some physical manipulation--hammering, splattering, or burning--along with a digital image depicting the process by which he disfigured them. To capture time in a static object, Maeda custom-wrote software to interleave successive images in a lenticular plate
attached to each block: on one face, an image-sequence of matches catching fire; on the opposite face, the actual matches burned onto the pristine Lucite surface. The artist's Media Programs (2000), meanwhile, consist of screens from palm devices embedded in painted panels. Each screen is a digital echo of the paint on the surface, showing the results of a computer program that analyzes the pictorial composition on the panel. Maeda also exhibits graphic printouts and foot-operating interactive sculptures that extend his interest in making computation manifest in a variety of physical forms. By juxtaposing the human gesture and its digital equivalent, Maeda provokes viewers into questioning the relationship between them in an age when more and more of our experience is mediated by digital technology.
John Maeda is the Sony Career Development Professor of Media Arts and Sciences, Associate Director of the MIT Media Laboratory in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he is also the Associate Professor of Design and Computation directing the Aesthetics and Computation Group. The exhibition coincides with the publication of his 480-page retrospective book MAEDA@MEDIA (2000) published by Thames & Hudson in Europe and Rizzoli in the United States. His artwork has been exhibited in established art galleries in Japan and, this past October, at the Institute of Contemporary Art in London. In November, he will be exhibiting at the Institute of Arts and Crafts in San Francisco.