Paul Davies

As an artist, I am interested in technology as a medium of expression. Technology is often described as a mirror of ourselves. I would go farther and say that technology is part of ourselves; it is a fundamental aspect of humanity. As a culture we imbue physical, technological objects with the ideas, values and themes of our time. We do this at an unconscious, meta level.

One aspect of Western culture, an obvious one that still bears mentioning, is its uncontrolled need to constantly remake itself. By inventing something new every day, our culture creates an steady stream of discarded technology. It is this refuse that I find rich in potential for artistic expression. I am not interested in garbage; I do not mean refuse in the literal sense. There is a class of objects, still functional, yet made obsolete by a society that is in constant state of flux. By revisiting these artifacts they become re-contextualized, and the ideas that they are containers for are open to reinterpretation.

I would like to emphasize that my art is not a museum. Museums force us to view artifacts from a fixed perspective of the present looking backwards at the past. What I am trying to accomplish with my art is to bring technology into focus in order for us to examine the present. The technology I scavenge as source material may be decades old, or it may be as old as yesterday. The important aspect is its discarded condition. It is precisely because it is discarded that it is worthwhile to place it under the spotlight of our current attention, to ask questions about where we have been, why we are where we are, and where we are going. Of course, not all discarded objects are evocative and capable of being art. Some objects, such as the Victoreen Instrument Company’s radiation survey meter, are of a class of technological artifacts. These objects are fixed at a point of tension in the fabric of our culture. They act as a lens, focusing and distilling perceptions and ideas into a single, unambiguous, physical device. Repositioning them allows us to reevaluate those ideas and perceptions from a different context.

Paul Davies -

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