In today’s world of bluetooth, touch screens and virtualization machines, it’s hard to believe how short a time ago that people were fumbling around with any digital technology. Heck, a dozen years ago 5 megapixel cameras were state of the art.
Of course this has never stopped the art community from stepping up and seeing what they could do, no matter what medium was introduced. For William Larson, the sixties presented one such tool in an early fax-machine. The results were the Fireflies series, digital artworks shot between 1969 and 1978.
Larson used a Graphic Sciences DEX 1 Teleprinter, a sophisticated early fax machine, which converted pictures, text and sound into digitally-generated audio signals. These signals were transmitted over a telephone line and a stylus burned the image onto a special carbon-based paper, creating a unique “electronic drawing.” He was able to manipulate these images by altering the voltage of the output during the printing process, by moving the stylus during printing and by sending multiple transmissions to the same page, electronically layering images, text and visual representations of sound.
Larson conducted the technology to produce an almost random juxtaposition of dissimilar images. The symbolic, or poetic, potential of the juxtaposition references “the imperfect operations of memory or dreams.”
With Fireflies, Larson sought to move beyond the traditional notion of what a photograph can be. He was interested in representing the fluidity of time with a static work of art. He stated: “I started to work and think of photography as a system of production, supporting a bias toward the additive possibilities of the medium, and less the subtractive, descriptive, or literal.”
Commencing on April 29th, the exhibit will be available for viewing until July 2nd.
For More Information: Gitterman Gallery