About This Series
Singularity is a series of new media paintings about our perception of others, as filtered through the lens of our digital devices. Subjects in the paintings are rendered by a computer using code written by the artist that leave subtle traces of the original source material, much like the distortion from a bad internet connection. The computer-generated image is later screen-printed on board, on top of which the artist layers paint that accentuates the hand-made qualities of the medium.
The title refers to the moment when computers are expected to outsmart us — in less than 15 years by some estimates. Although Hollywood depictions of that event include villainous machines like the Terminator or Hal 9000, the reality is far more insidious. Since people, not machines, program the devices that we use to connect with each other, the software written is skewed by the programmer’s experiences, aspirations, and biases.
Winston Churchill is quoted, “history is written by its victors,” which fittingly described the past hundred years under white male dominance. Their stories were glorified via television, radio, and printed media, while exalting their passions and desires. Thanks to the internet and social media, the stories we hear are now being told from a wider array of people. Although the democratization of media appears to be a good thing, our interpretation of the facts continues to be filtered through the lens of the new victors: the programmers of our devices, who are by-and-large, men. At Google, men make up 83 percent of the technical workforce, while Facebook is an abysmal 85 percent male.
Furthermore, our perpetual access to celebrities, politicians, and average folks distort the way we process their narratives. Intimate details of their lives never tell the whole story, as only “newsworthy” events are favored, like knowing the person who can't be known. The everyday experience of living a life is eclipsed by an endless feed of selfies, sex scandals, and violence.
Singularity is a reflection of ourselves and the shape-shifting monster from within. Although the apocalyptic vision of a world overrun by rogue machines may not come to light, the powers that have shaped our collective experience for the last century continue to haunt us, distorting our perception of each other. Understanding the forces behind the programming will be the task of our time, allowing us to take control of our own narratives.