Big Bird (2023)
“Big Bird” (2023)
(Steel, Wood, Paint, Vinyl)
We live immersed in a sea of invisible data that permeates the air and flows through the wires and machines around us. Ultimately all this information is reduced to the 1s and 0s of binary code encoded in the peaks and troughs of electromagnetic waves or changing voltages of a wire. All of this information is encoded; some of it is encrypted and carefully guarded. A cat picture and a bank transaction are both just patterns of 1s and 0s until somebody or something attempts to decode the data. Randomness and chance are the cornerstones of cryptography and as such are building blocks of the internet; they are an important aspect of my work and chance is often used to determine the colours and positions of elements in my work.
The stripes on the body of ‘Big Bird’ are randomly generated and determined algorithmically by a computer programme. The black and white striped spikes encode the stock market ticker codes of tech companies. These companies capture and record the electronic footprints of our lives, how much we earn, what we spend our money on, where we go, our political views, which images are likely to attract our attention for a few milliseconds longer. ‘Big Bird’ was the name given to a series of 20 huge KH-9 photographic reconnaissance satellites launched in the closing decades of the cold war.