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DOT by David Kim

“Dot” is series of paintings composed as a singular work that represents one symbol, the dot. Five different paintings were made, each using a distinct method of painting. The paintings were done on polycarbonate panels so that they overlap or collapse to create one symbol. The work has two separate manifestations. The first is a physical representation of the work through construction of a fixed display. The second is a digital expression in the form of a website consisting of a sequence of animated gifs. The need for both a physical and digital expression symbolizes the premise of the work, which involves the interplay between digital images and handmade images.

Digital imagery is constructed by a matrix of dots. Whether they are dots created by a printer, or an LED display, images are formed by a system of dots. In today’s visual culture, we can view almost everything through these displays. Physical objects are photographed, imported, compressed and made portable for viewing on multiple digital platforms. Paintings consisting of thousands of brush strokes are transformed into a digital format that is then reinterpreted as dot matrices for visual display. Therefore in the end, everything physical can be digitally reinterpreted as a dot within a system of dots.

Corey Arcangel’s analysis of compression technology, and Rafael Rozendaal’s various vector based animations served as inspiration for this project. Compression allows complex digital imagery to appear on a screen in a timely manner. In the end, what we see on screen is determined by mathematical problem solving. Rozendaal’s vector based animations also rely on this fundamental system. All forms of media are conformed to the display of televisions, computers, and handheld devices. In order for media to reach the masses, it must be compressed and distributed in the form of code. What once was a long process of transferring the handmade to the machine made is now a fast process that produces a seamless product or experience devoid of human error.

What happens when human touch is stripped away from everything we see? How does the handcrafted object or art form hold up to the machine made? Old technology, or the handmade, seems to imply a sense of the uncalculated or improvised, rather than new computer technology that offers calculated precision and simulated perfect geometry. The grittiness of the analog image is now rendered seamless when transferred to digital. Both time and space are flattened into one plane and transmitted for viewing through a light emitting display. Everything is a dot, means that everything can be transformed into a matrix of dots that form a digital image.