1s and 0s
Art, Technology & Nuance
Fundamentally technology only understands two things:
1s and 0s
On and Off
Yes and No
Is and Is Not
Everything computers do is built on top of this binary way of thinking. This limitation of technology has seeped into our increasingly divided world.
As our technology-based tools know no nuance we too have dispensed with it.
Nuance. I’m going to totally over use that word in this letter.
Let me start by saying that I am white, western and could accurately be described as an outsider without informed opinion on many questions that may very important to you, including how A4 is funded. Yet within this, I understand A4’s interest in my work to be a reflection of how deeply they care about their community as it aspires to be a place of thoughtful consideration…and nuance. They’ve invited some white chick from LA who calls herself an Internet Imperialist to show how she’s hacked and manipulated the internet into understanding her paintings as the most relevant visual definition of Ubuntu.
That’s either extremely daft or really fucking bold.
Roughly Translated As: What is Ubuntu is about power, language, and how art can exist between our 1s and 0s, reminding us of art’s power to encourage nuance and complexity. It is also about painting, connection, finding ways to express deeply personal and wordless longings.
It’s about the imperfect sincerity of trying to live within the boths and neithers of our own 1s and 0s.
Though fearful I could be portrayed as willfully naive I will not pretend to fully understand your community’s 1s and 0s. I am not from and I do not live within your culture, history or contemporary space.
I live in an America where the people I grew up around voted for Trump and the people I see daily in Los Angeles confess to not knowing a single Trump voter. I have seen the 2nd Amendment newly tattooed across Facebook friend’s back the day after a school shooting. I live in an America my friends have been exiled from their parents for being gay, and where the product-first internet of Silicon Valley sexualizes women as part of their business model. I have personal and political sympathies with Nan Goldin in regards to art patron’s connection to Purdue Pharma while my mother, dying of cancer, is thankful for how these drugs have allowed her to spend her final months.
These are my 1s and 0s and my attempts at boths. I hope you’ll give me the opportunity to share them with you; I hope you’ll share yours with me.
I thank and applaud A4 for inviting me and my work to Cape Town.
– Gretchen Andrew
25 June 2018