[Aug 18] Handwritten by Machines: an Exhibition

Handwritten by Machines

Curated by Elizabeth Clare and Molly Murphy

August 18th 2012
596 Broadway #602
New York, NY 10012

In an age where inviting one too many Facebook friends triggers a wavy-lettered CAPTCHA to halt your party plans and interrogate your personhood, where the barrier between your digital life and those pesky e-bandits is little more than a few asterisks and the name of your first pet guinea pig, where you’re one mischievous friend away from inadvertently broadcasting your most recent bowel movement via status update, where every new day offers the hope that the Google Earth car will swing back around and let the world know that you’ve improved your landscaping since 2009 (“PLEASE let it be today!”)… The safe avenues we use to navigate this system are narrowing.  How can technology mediate signature and identity? Handwritten by Machines unites artists who explore the capabilities of technology, along with the notion that our relationship to the digital realm is subject to shifts.


Elizabeth Clare believes that as digital communication becomes more prevalent, emotional exchanges we once had face-to-face become reserved for the computer screen. Screen Infatuation is an interactive piece meant to shed light on the possible potential that we may transfer out feelings of joy, love and infatuation form the people we once spent time with to the sleek, intelligent, user-friendly digital devices, otherwise know as [apple] computers. Using the capabilities of face tracking, the more positive feedback given to the screen–engaged attention, open eyes, wide and open smiles–given to the computer, a one-sided game of footsie is projected between the user and the stagnant silhouette of the computer.


Stephen Faught: Registry explores the nature of personal identity online, as well as the shifting notions of public and private information. When googling his name, he came across a wedding announcement for another Stephen Faught and his bride-to-be. Through more searching he found their wedding registry at Bed Bath & Beyond, then ordered a random item from the list (a set of “Love Beyond Measure” novelty measuring spoons). He then sent the spoons with a letter to the couple. Registry is the documentation of personal information retrieved from investigating one’s online identity.


Olivia Fox believes a newer shared experience is a loss of signature and identity, an effect from living in a society where our work precedes ourselves. Screenage_wasteland_2012.mov is a compilation of digital collages she’s created which capture her own online identity. “The websites collaged are easily recognized and on the surface come off as mundane metaphysical portraits of internet use, but the lines and text emphasize more emotion, in particular: gender confusion, loneliness and feelings of insignificance. I wanted to show how raw and present our emotions are presented through the websites we use and how uniform expression becomes through more popular websites. “–Olivia Fox



Navit Keren: Trajectories of Growth considers the foundation of maps and the possibilities stored in them. The piece explores they way they have evolved with technology and become digitalized and open-source, constantly fluctuating, then challenges notions of maps simply as information sources by looking at maps as materials to create one of a kind objects. “The process was manipulating the area of the West Bank by isolating the Jewish Settlements in it and composing them together to create a new 3d object. The object, a laser cut plexiglass, was placed into petri dishes with bacteria samples growing on top of it. Simply put, there were two ecosystems living in the dishes, a biological one and a human/political one. The immediate physical outcome of this operation is a new object, an unfamiliar shape of a fictional spatial and territorial land.”–Navit Karen


Kate Watkins: MIDI Typewriter revolves around patterns of language and music and visual representation of the two. Letter keys are grouped by frequencies then converted to a range of MIDI notes. The intention of MIDI Typewriter piece is to create a hybrid performative experience where individuals discover the connection between language and music as they interact with the typewriter.



Harvestworks is a nonprofit Digital Media Arts Center that presents experimental artworks created in collaboration with our Technology, Engineering, Art and Music (TEAM) Lab. Our programs are made possible with funds from New York State Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, the NYC Dept. of Cultural Affairs, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Materials for the Arts, and the Friends of Harvestworks.


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