UCA Farnham Fine Art Student Profile 2014 – Stephanie Davies

What ideas have you explored and why are they important to you?

I consider myself an intermedia artist interested in exploring the proliferation of images and information that is surrounding us. Inspired by Susan Sontag’s term ‘Image Junkies’ I find myself fascinated with the compulsion to document, blog and photograph our daily lives. Past works focused on the family album/photo album and what we photograph. Bringing these ideas into the digital age I begun looking at online photo sharing and mass media. Using a variety of media and most recently, digital art, I aim to explore the ongoing impact of the mass of imagery on the world in the post internet era.

My current work focuses on mass media imagery and how it is ubiquitous from; the internet, television, radio, newspapers. Using hexadecimal coding techniques I corrupt this imagery beyond the point of recognition and place it back into its original context in order to make the viewer think twice about what they absorb on a daily basis.

Sontag’s term ‘Image Junkies’ has been a significant influence in my recent work. Sontag claims that one of the defining characteristics of 1970’s culture was the commercial drive to stockpile photographs of every imaginable subject. The photograph then became a replacement for an experience. You can show an old family photograph to a friend, point out people in the photograph, tell the story surrounding it, and it becomes an experience in itself, perhaps making it unnecessary to have witnessed the moment in the first place. We have since become, as Sontag states, ‘Image Junkies’; obsessed with a compulsion to photograph everything around us, the people we meet, the food we eat and the places we visit. We have a culture where there is a sea of information and this raises lots of issues and problems, of course this has lots of scope for making work.

http://vimeo.com/92233752

How did you develop the idea that produced your final exhibition work?

The idea for my exhibition piece came from my dissertation. Previously I was looking at nostalgia and memories surrounding family photography and the reasons behind them. Whilst writing my dissertation I begun to bring these ideas into the context of none object images that exist on a screen in cyberspace and how they are consumed on social media sites.

I decided that the way I wanted to show these images was to break them down and corrupt them into a basic form. For this I had to learn how to read and write hexadecimal code. I taught myself to write images from scratch pixel by pixel which was certainly challenging! Though by doing so I understood how to corrupt imagery in the way I wanted to and using code that is part of the digital seemed to be important, rather than just manipulating the image sin Photoshop. I put this into practice by creating a newspaper made up entirely of corrupted imagery for the degree show, and also a radio news broadcast that was also corrupted.

What do you think is the most significant thing that has helped you during your time a UCA Farnham?

The resources and staff have helped me the most, having a wide range of tutors to discuss and bounce ideas off in tutorials has helped me significantly. I wouldn’t have been able to achieve half the pieces I’ve produced in the past three years without the wide range of facilities and resources.

What did you learn from the process of producing your Farnham exhibition?

Working under pressure! Having a time limit for an installation set up was new to me and I really struggled with getting it done in time.

What are you planning next?

I want to be close to a creative hub, work with some small galleries and I have a job working in arts education, so I will also keep making work.

http://steph.pro/ 

 

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