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Electronic Artifacts: icons, tone generators by Claire Jervert and Phillip Stearns

Electronic Artifacts was exhibited at Big Screen Plaza, NYC and Dubai, UAE, and other Streaming Museum locations in 2011.


Add to Cart, 2011, deals with the methods and techniques of advertising and selling in contemporary consumer culture. The screen displays the icon of a shopping cart as it appears on the “add to cart” button used on retail sites throughout the Internet. The icon undergoes a panoply of stock effects used in electronic billboard advertising –bright, shifting colors; pulsating lights; jittery, hyperkinetic animation effects.  The forms of commerce appear, but entirely emptied of content.

Claire Jervert is a visual artist and curator based in NYC, whose work examines the interrelationship between media, communications and technology. Her work has been exhibited in museums and galleries throughout the United States and internationally, including the School of Visual Arts, Flag Art Foundation, Stephany Martz Gallery, White Columns and as far away as Melbourne and Milan.  She has received awards from the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, Atlantic Center for the Arts, and Bronx Museum.  Jervert’s work is in the collections of Sprint, AG Rosen, SCI, and the Paige West Foundation, among others.  She is a member of the Stevens Institute of Technology Advisory Committee on Art and Technology.

The Quickening, 2009,  was made in two phases. In the first phase, video and audio were generated using a bank of analog tone generators designed by Dave Jones. Visualization of the pure tones was accomplished using a Sandin Image Processor, which converted the audio signals into shifting patterns and intensities of color.  In the second phase, the resulting audio and video composition was recorded onto a miniDV while fast forwarding the first. The resulting sonic and visual artifacts generated by the fast forward feature of DV tape deck become an integral part of the final audio video work.


Phillip Stearns’ work lies at the intersection of art, philosophy, and science, drawing upon a variety of disciplines including installation, audio-video works, circuit sculpture, writing, performance art and musical composition. The driving force motivating his practice comes from an intense fascination with technological objects and a deep skepticism towards modern applications of technology, especially in the creation of closed circuits of production/consumption. His work has been exhibited internationally at electronics arts festivals, museums, and galleries including: Harvestworks [2010 NYC]; [2010 Chicago, IL]; Festival De Arte Digital (FAD) [2010 Belo Horizonte, Brazil]; FILE [2009 Sao Paulo, Brazil]; NIME [2009 Pittsburgh, PA]; Filmer La Musique [2009 Paris, France]; FONLAD [2009 Coimbra, Portugal]; Torrance Art Museum [2008, 2007 Los Angeles, CA]; Optica Film Festival [2008 Gijon, Spain]. He has participated in residencies at Museums Quartier (Vienna 2010), STEIM (Amsterdam 2007), Experimental Television Center (NY 2009), Harvestworks (NY 2010), and is the current AIRTime Fellow at Free103Point9 for the 2010-2011 cycle..

My video work has a strong connection to artists in the 1960s and 1970s such as Nam June Paik, Steina and Woody Vesulka, Bill Etra, and others who were exploring the possibilities of video signal generation and manipulation.   Like the video artist before me, I’m interested in turning the medium of video and its tools inwards upon itself, to explore new modes of abstraction and alternative modes of representation.  In the classical image of antiquity, it is the realm of myth that envelops the psyche.  The original, as Benjamin notes, is full of an essential spirit, and it is this vital spirit that creates and reinforces myth.  The printing press enabled the passage from the age of myth into the age of ideology.  Each subsequent technological development has been a step towards the exchange of mythical narrative structures for ideological programs as conduits for power’s influence over everyday life.  According to Raoul Vineigem, “ideology is quantity,” it is propagated through the reproduction of forms.  Modern communication technologies are the manifestations of what Zizeck identifies as the third moment in the narrative of Ideology: Ritual.  “Science Finds, Industry Applies, Man Conforms.”  We, as a modern society with global influence, no longer question the primacy of modern technological objects, the Ideology of progress has been assimilated completely.  The Quickening applies the formal technique of abstraction towards a critique of technological ideology via reproduction.  Images are made from elementary circuits, refusing the perspective of the lens, and thus circumventing symbolic referents.  From here artifacts resulting from the replication process are integrated as a means of redirecting attention to the act, methods, and tools of reproduction of video based media.


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