Jon Clair

MA Fine Art, Wimbledon College of Arts, UAL

Jon Clair's Portrait

Originally trained as a hospital pharmacist in Australia, Jon Clair now lives and works in London as a practicing artist and teacher-in-training. His artistic practice is an exploration of contemporary culture through technology and the lens. At the core of his research is the notion of digital intimacy: how the digital sphere—from touchscreens to the depths of the internet—creates or extends intimacy. Unpacking the relationship and connection between the digital and the physical, where the virtual meets the real, and the body meets the screen, the question is posed: what is the digital body, where is it located and of what is it made?

For DeL 2015 Jon will draw on Marios Athanisou’s recent work Superposition to propose a new model for post-digital making. This model blurs the distinction between virtual and real spaces, and sees feedback between the digital and physical making spaces as reverberative.

Neither the digital nor the physical exist in isolation: neither is more or less real than one another, but instead co-exist concurrently in the same space.

In this presentation I will address the topic of post-digital making by analysing the recent work Superposition by Marios Athanasiou exhibited at arebyte Gallery. Co-delivered in person and by digital video utilising elements of live streaming, my presentation aims to embody that which it portrays.

Superposition is a quantum mechanics concept which describes the observed phenomena whereby matter can co-exist in multiple places simultaneously. Like Schrodinger's cat (which is considered both dead and alive until confirmed), superposition in essence describes a state of overlap. It is this overlap that Athanasiou explores in his recent work, and I explore in this presentation.

In the construct of a darkened space, Athanasiou's Superposition creates an indefinite loop between the virtual and the real. Transducers create physical waves in a tank of ultraviolet liquid, which are then measured and translated into virtual waves in a virtual tank, held in cyberspace. The nature of these virtual waves are then returned to the physical space in the form of sound, affecting the transducers and closing the loop.

In Superposition, Athanasiou parallels the quantum physics concept by the same name to the real and the virtual, mapping interactions that converge between on- and off-line worlds. In experiencing his piece, the viewer is present physically in a space observing the real consequences of a virtual action. Or, vice versa. I propose this duality as a useful model for the consideration of making in the post-digital context.

Athanasiou has demonstrated that feedback exists between the digital and the real—one affects the other. I believe this to be true in the post-digital studio. At the core of contemporary making, digital making and physical spaces overlap—are superimposed. In this superimposed space, I propose a model for post-digital making with the following ethos:

“Post-digital” blurs the distin­ction between real and virtual spaces. This blurring should be permitted. In making, digital and physical making spaces overlap. These overlaps should be facilitated and supported by the artist and their environment. Digital tools and facilities are as important as a physical ones. These should function in concert. Feedback between the digital and physical making spaces is reverberative. These feedback loops should be encouraged organically.

Reference: Athanasiou, M. (2015). Superposition [installation] Exhibited at arebyte Gallery, London 02 May – 02 April 2015.