In 1979 Rosalind Krauss described the grid as ‘antinatural’ and ‘antireal’. Although originally in reference to modernism, these sentiments seem ever more relevant in a world saturated by screens. Pixels, millions of tiny, tessellated squares, now govern many of our day-to-day interactions.
It’s unsettling to think that while we watch the screens they quietly watch back at us. Our interactions on phones, a conduit for status updates and selfies, feed through to data hungry tech giants such as Facebook and Twitter. Social media’s targeted advertising and helpful suggestions seem harmless enough, but our public spaces too are increasingly encroached upon, including security cameras starting to siphon images through facial recognition algorithms with the intent of pre-empting criminal motives and maintaining public order.
We are often passive to these interactions, aware of them in our peripheries but happy to ignore their consequences (at least, for as long as they also remain convenient). Tessellate brings our 21st century to-and-fro with screens to the surface, reflecting the viewer back at them as they stand before the work. Their image, disjointed and disfigured, is recognisable but not representational - a caricature of the viewer and equal parts hilarious and disturbing. Untethered from the internet the interactions with Tessellate remain sacred, a chance for people to engage with screens without the underlying threat of surveillance.
That is… until a photo is uploaded.
Computer, monitors, cables, webcam and code