Art » Asia Contemporary Art Show 2012 » Mike Patterson

Artist Statement

Mike Patterson

Mike Patterson is working to expand the vocabulary of photography to accommodate the new ways in which images are produced, distributed and viewed in the digital age.

As film and other traditional methods of photography continue to decline in use and availability, we are confronted by a proliferation of digital technology for the production and dissemination of images. Walter Benjamin famously observed that the photographic medium, with its potential for faithful reproduction by mechanical means, is a medium uniquely suited to the purposes of public exhibition compared to other visual art forms such as paintings that exist as singular cult objects. Now that the means of production and distribution have progressed from mechanical to digital, the potential for public exhibition has increased exponentially. These developments represent not only a quantitative, but also a qualitative shift in the meaning and perception of photography and photography’s role in shaping the greater art-scape.

In the age of information, we are rarely confronted by a singular image, or even a cohesive sequence of images forming a linear narrative. Rather we are bombarded in a milieu of multimedia where the photographic image coexists alongside visual, audio and text based stimuli. Through the database structure of the internet, hyperlinking, metadata and sorting by user-driven algorithms, the viewer is empowered to create their own personal nonlinear narrative.

The endless possibilities available for the production and reception of images presents a number of both exciting and challenging issues that we must consider. As photography merges with other media, infinite possibilities for reconfiguration emerge and we are endowed with new ways of seeing and understanding. However, any translation from one media format to another is inevitably accompanied by the problems of distortion, data loss andunintended recontextualization. We must work to understand these qualitative shifts in meaning that occur through such processes in order to utilize digital reproduction and translation for the greater good, to make thoughtful and thought provoking art, to enable new ways of seeing, to give the public greater access to art, and to continue to challenge the power structures that work to control the worlds of art, image and representation.