Thaba is one of the first digital pieces I ever did in 2000.
Coming from painting I found that I could experiment in early software with the very same properties that excited and challenged me in oil painting, namely chiaroscuro – the handling of light and shadow – space and line, varied details like brushstrokes and a finessed gradient.
One of my earliest art inspirations was ceramics. At the time of making this I challenged myself as i going into the digital unknown, the ars electronica, taking what I thought would be a foray into the medium that actually saw me become a nearly-permanantly displaced painter as I quickly fell in love with the electronic/light-based medium, to always retain and return to (when applicable) the quality of clay in my works…As a kind of quiet represetation of a certain longing for tactility: the fewer and fewer touches on real things we’d enjoy/suffer as the whole of the sensed and perceived world moved into light signatures and pulses on screens.
Often a self-oppositionalist in my youth, I gave myself a related painter’s challenge: that I 1) would always maintain the uniquesness of my “artist’s hand” and not let a technology or the software speak for me, and additionally, 2) seeing that through software the infinitely large maximalist collage was possible, I would always try to find the simple indispensible image, one that represented compression and complexity and simplicity simultaneously. I was also studying Arte Povera at the time and thinking in the “poetic minimalist” modes of that movement.
Thaba, meaning “dust/mountain” in the southern African Tswana tongue, is also the cover image to the eponymous band of which I was a silent member. Formed by Brooklynite Gabriel Cyr and South African Khusi Seremane who tragically passed away last year from complications with a lifelong autoimmune disease, Thaba, and the causes that the generative collection of images made from this seed image aims to support, are dedicated to his memory.
In the 20 years since this image was created the world has arguably (factually by many metrics) gotten worse on many levels since this work was created. The same populations and demographics who were suffering then are suffering now and for many the same reasons.
Blockchain technology allows us an opportunity to address the last remaining great problems of the world with an amazing new infrastructure, with incredible efficiency so I felt was appropriate to return to my roots as a digital artist, turning back to the hope that I had for the world then, which can more easily be activated now thanks to this skybreaking technology.
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