All the elements in these montages come from the imagesurgery archive, a huge, ever-growing digital scrapbook collected over 20 years. Fragments of type and image past and present, sourced from around the globe, have been stitched together to tell new stories in these contemporary digital cut-ups.
In spirit, the pieces owe much to the Berlin Dada movement of the 1920s, in which photomontage was developed to express dissatisfaction with the prevailing political and social climate. Since then, the technique of arranging disparate photographic elements to create new meanings has often been used to attack the establishment.
The practice of cutting and pasting to create a new entity is not confined to the realms of the two-dimensional image, but stretches through film, text, and is today most prevalent in music. There are many parallels between the digital revolution in music, and the one in photography. In both, the possibilities have become infinite, as computers empower the artist to collect, collate and manipulate found elements.
The GO series samples, from the urban environment, the words and symbols used to inform, persuade and decorate. Public spaces are cluttered with signs that direct and instruct, vying for attention with illegal street art. Our flourishing graffiti culture is an inevitable reaction to the increasing homogeneity of the urban landscape; a disaffection with dreary corporate uniformity. The increasingly muddled visual soup that develops leaves many of us confused, excluded, or without direction.
We rush through life, pressured by commercial and political forces, and sucked into an acquisitive system. We are overloaded with irrelevant information, peddled false promises, and bound by rules – the drones of a free-market economy. imagesurgery’s intention is to reflect the contradictions of modern urban living, but also to celebrate its graphic diversity, and reveal its accidental, multi-layered beauty.
©imagesurgery April 2006