The Dream Life of Data


Language tends to organize the world in a functional way, while in the virtual realm it’s data that makes things happen. But data is a type of language and so has the capacity to act otherwise, to produce other states of consciousness. In The Dream Life of Data, 2024, I develop my photo-collage techniques from the 80s along digital lines. I use AI ‘text to image’ along with other internet apps to generate source material. AI is, after all, just another tool. I intentionally plug in confounding texts not readily parsed by large language model algorithms so the results produced tend to the off-beat. Using surprise and recognition as guides I navigate these fragments in search of a synthesis. I’m lead by the material itself and I entertain whatever accidents or artifacts present themselves in the process. This method allows me access to a state which I experience as playful, poetic, mysterious, metaphoric, somewhat uncomfortable, maybe a bit spiritual but certainly a release from more customary modes. Consequently the images tend to possess an otherworldliness that veers toward the ineffable. The Dream Life of Data provides an escape from the tyranny of the instrumental, an entry into imaginary realms that see things differently.