“All that remains are collisions, fascinations, sensory manipulations, tears in the subtle weavings of a between-us”

So, what I’m doing is creating a series of three printed textile pieces using ASCII-rendered imagery. Similar to my previous visual essay, the lines of characters will be interspersed with lines of prose. The project interprets intimate spaces and actions through a digital lens. Transforming these images into ASCII text serves as a metaphor for contemporary constructions of intimacy. The tactility of the textile stands in contrast to the often-perceived cold nature of technology; the fabric drapes in different ways that reveal or conceal different parts of the content, serving to represent how communication changes through digital mediums.

Anyway, that’s the pseudo-working-artist’s-statement. It’s presently being referred to as How do you caress an image, though I’m not sure that’s the most sophisticated title. Stay tuned.

An overview of what I did this week:

  • Went to the print factory to get fabric swatches
  • Determined the size of my pieces and type size through a few-dozen print tests
  • Prepped a working statement about my piece
  • Photographed for my pieces and edited for ASCII stuff
  • Stressed out over the content and difference between a series of works or a singular installation or what?

Now that I’ve sussed out the medium and meaning behind my project, I need to actually make it, which is bringing me some grief. I’m struggling with how to deal with the content: is this a series of separate works? Is it a singular piece, like a triptych where each element works in conjunction? How does the content changed based on this?

I only got to these larger questions about the series pretty recently, so I began working on the visuals on neither assumption. I had originally planned to do the following: an image of my bed would reflect specifically on the lack of contextual knowledge given in telecommunications; an image of reaching hands would reflect on compromised (or not compromised?) authenticity in digitally-mediated relations; a portrait would reflect on the overtly-intentional representations of self through digital mediums.

But I’m worried. I’m not sure exactly what the written content is for each of these pieces. I tried to write my own prose, but found it never levelled up with that of Irigaray. I tried to adapt her writing, but I’m having trouble. Fitting it into these subjects that I set up was proving difficult, and I’m not sure I’ve went about this the best way possible.

I’m trying to weave a lot of complex thoughts about this subject matter, which is where I’m struggling. By attempting to combine my own thoughts with the writing from Irigaray while attempting to frame this through conversations about contemporary digital advancements (such as AI), the essence is becoming jumbled. I’m starting to think that, because people will be viewing this piece in a contemporary setting, they will make their own interpretations of the content — I don’t necessarily need to feed them the “modernity” lens.

Presently, I’ve opted to focus entirely on the essay from Irigaray, but I’m not sure if I’m entirely happy. The portrait reflects on the authenticity of representations; the hands reflect on the three-dimensionality of in-person communications and the lack thereof in telecommunications; the image of the bed reflects on the disregard of temporality in digital communications. I’m not sure.

Questions going forward

  • Do these operate together as a single piece? Are they more of a series? If they are a series, can they exist separately from each other? If they are a series, what is the real differentiating factor between each piece?
  • If I pile my own thoughts about contemporary communications into this content, does it become ‘too much’?
  • Is it a lame cop-out to use the written copy from Irigaray? How do I use her content without it just becoming a ‘visual essay’? How do I add my own meaning without having “too much” happening? Am I even really supposed to do this legally?
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