FEATURED ARTIST: Heather Fernon
How will digital images and artifacts, currently accessible, be rediscovered by future generations? How will decades of treasured personal memories be catalogued for retrieval without universally agreed protocols? These are just a couple of questions pertaining to the global digital revolution which Australian contemporary artist and photographer Heather Fernon explores in her distinct and riveting series, EXCHANGE, now available for you to stream and be amazed by on Artcast.
Finding her muse in everything from Renaissance-era masterpieces and the vibrant works of Andy Warhol to the Modernist still life photography of Irving Penn and beautiful botanical captures of Imogen Cunningham, Heather Fernon’s chromatic creations have made us huge fans not only of her work, but fans of the infusion of technology into modern art and we are so excited to bring her onboard as a new Featured Artist.
Drawing inspiration from the technological domain, Fernon creates pieces that not only capture your attention with their mélange of composition and color, but provoke an examination of technology’s place in society from its innovation and preservation to eventual decay. In her opening statement on EXCHANGE, she describes this in the context of computer technology’s relatively recent past and then asks what is yet to be fully determined when it comes to its increasingly digital future:
Computer componentry is a defining symbol of the global digital revolution.
Although unregulated by traditional social hierarchies, as barriers to entry are increasingly broken down, access to the latest digital devices and networks are still constrained by location and affordability. In addition, systems often promote the obfuscation of information through complexity.
Despite this, the documentation of our personal visual memories and artifacts are increasingly archived in networked databanks held by commercial interests, often recycled and re-interpreted through social media platforms.
The consolidation of these online databases has created tenuous links for future ownership of our digital possessions, as we negotiate rapidly changing environments in which to gather and conserve information.
(Note: International Data Corporation (IDC) estimates that by 2025 the global data sphere will grow to 163 Zettabytes. A zettabyte is a trillion gigabytes.)
How will digital images and artifacts, currently accessible, be rediscovered by future generations?
How will decades of treasured personal memories be catalogued for retrieval without universally agreed protocols?
What obligations do we have to identify and conserve important online platforms for historical purposes and by what mechanisms should we address this challenge?
What does the ongoing obsolescence of the digital environment signify about our insatiable quest for rapid technological advancement?
In EXCHANGE, which is comprised of 16 triptychs, Fernon does a beautiful job depicting this relationship between technology and the translation of its artifacts to the online world. By photographing large computer motherboards resembling those used in telecommunications and then immersing them to create an abstract, she artistically portrays the “finding and uncovering of lost relics in an archaeological site, which have been frozen in time” in the first image of each triptych.
The second image of each triptych was then created by corrupting the original digital images files in the process of computer translation.
And lastly, by montaging the uncorrupted and corrupted files, a third image was created subsequently completing each triptych.
The artist’s love and dedication to photography and contemporary art began at a young age while growing up in the suburbs of Sydney where she was introduced to the medium by way of her father’s 120mm camera and polaroid equipment. From playing around with it as a child to taking it on as a more serious hobby after finishing school and traveling extensively through North America, she ultimately went on to pursue and complete a triple BA in Photography, Film and Art History (1992) and an MA in Digital Imaging (1996) at RMIT University in Melbourne. Fernon’s innate creativity paired with her rich educational background in art has no doubt been a contributing factor to the unique qualities and overall success of her photography which has been shown extensively in national and private galleries across Australia, the United States, United Kingdom, and Russia.
Here are a few more images pulled from various triptychs included in EXCHANGE. You can stream the rest of the series directly to your TV via the Heather Fernon gallery now available on Artcast.
To check out more of Heather Fernon’s brilliant photography portfolio, visit her website and follow her on Instagram @heatherfernon for personal snaps. You can download Artcast and enjoy Fernon’s work along with a whole team of other inspiring Featured Artists in just minutes via Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Google/Android or Samsung. To learn more, visit www.artcast.tv/stream.