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The Political Advantage of Abstraction (2006-8)


There are 16 images included here, selected from a series of 90 in total.
The prints included here were made from survey photography that the NOAA operated in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The images were downloaded from the NOAA server, and manipulated to produce vector images. The distinctive difference between vector and raster images is that the latter is pixel based, and therefore very much reliant upon resolution for it's perceived quality. A raster image therefore has a set physical image scale at the time the digital photograph is taken. A vector image is made of lines and closed shapes that are then filled with color - which means that it is a data map, and therefore independent of scale restrictions. I wanted to use the vector process to open these images up to manipulation - so that I could use them in a variety of contexts and at almost any scale.
These images have been produced using screen-printing, with oil based ink, as is appropriate. The oil based ink settles into and over time bleeds through the paper, effectively destroying the original image of the work. This process will takes decades, and is aimed to be reflective of the problems that exist within the profit driven policy agendas that continue to produce the circumstances that threaten the very population that through voting and taxation, support the government.
Below, there is an image of a crop within a textured area to show the viewer how the images appear - which is that they are quite literally a conglomeration of abstract shapes. Errors encountered within the conversion process (from raster to vector) are retained, and used within the somewhat farcical reclamation of an abstract aesthetic for the work. I continue with this thought in the title of the work because it is after such an event that a 'survey' may be operated by a local or national governmental body, to produce evidence of action being taken by the political powers, on the part of constituents. The event is therefore abstracted from it's cause or effects, and instead, deflected into a status of review for reform, the neoliberal modus operandi.


This image is included to exhibit how the textures are rendered in these works, and to display the differences described between image types above.