Out of Order: Bad Display consists of photographic prints, and, depending on the installation, various other elements such as repurposed plexi-glass, plastic lenses from deconstructed lcd screens, crt TVs, white house paint, and cardboard boxes.
The photographic prints comprise images of screens cropped from images of broken TVs and computer monitors that I find for sale on consumer-to-consumer websites, such as eBay, Alibaba, and Craigslist. As the substrate on which one sees images, the screen is invisible until something goes wrong. By focusing on the failed screen, I draw attention to its physical materiality. I make photographic prints of these transient images in order to draw attention to the materiality of the objects from which they come. The photographic print fixes them – makes the transient image still.
In many images the sellers have turned the TV on while photographing them so that the light emitted from the TVs proves to potential buyers that the electronics behind the screen still works. In these images, signal, image and liquid crystal mix with no control; or imageless signals emits an eerie light that seems to hum or hiss. Sometimes the seller has indicated with arrows or other graphic pointers, where the flaw or damage is. In these images the hand of the seller, by way of idiosyncratic mark-making, is forever embedded in the flawed screen. Finally, some screens are so compromised that no light is emitted at all – dark, cracked or peeling, the light that illuminates these screens is the flash from the seller’s camera.
Ironically akin to formalist modernist compositions, the incidental beauty of these screens is derived from the failure of their own promising technology. As large prints, the highly saturated enlarged pixel grids create color fields that further evoke Modernist abstractions. By presenting these abstract by-products as formal compositions in their own right, I am collapsing the obsolescence and breakdown of new technology with the visionary aesthetic of Modernism.
Depending on the exhibition context, the work is traditionally framed, face-mounted, or a part of a larger installation where it is propped, or sandwiched between, rectangles of repurposed plexi-glass. For these installations, the plexi-glass functions as a surrogate for the screen by creating a transparent framework from which the still images of broken and flawed screens seems to be slipping. As physical objects, they present themselves as precarious obstacles the viewer must navigate.