Jason E Geistweidt

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scott vaughn tavitian: mfa, interdisciplinary art/photography

Built with the ubiquitous technologies of our time, Digital Obscura uses webcams, LED screens, video cameras, and projectors to transform the literal world through multiple representations. Referencing the cameras ever-present nature in our society, I aim to use its powers of surveillance and limited resolution for positive ends. I want to revel in the forms of color and light that result from the live feed of Chicago as it is altered through each piece of equipment it passes through. This project is an effort to push back against the simplistic idea of technology as only blurring or dampening our experience of the real world, I wanted to use the inherent qualities of a digital image and its consumption and presentation mediums to counter the increasingly strategic and controlled nature of society. The question becomes not whether technology distorts but how we are going to use it for our own ends. The low-resolution imagery frustrates easy perception, slowing down the participant to suggest a more mindful and contemplative mode of viewing.

The inspiration for this project was a desire to understand how the technology we use in our everyday lives, whether a computer, led screen, camera, or webcam, alters our experience of the world. By using simplified versions of these devices, and then intentionally blurring or distorting them through qualities inherent in the device, I want to bring their effects to the forefront. Rather than make a simplistic judgment about the negative aspects of digital technology as limited or removing us from experience, I wanted to explore the possibilities for using that process of simplification to bring out the inherent beauty present in the world. This project is a suggestion that more detail and clarity is not always necessarily better, only by understanding how the devices we use everyday shape our experience of the world can we use them to positively affect the world.