W Y S I W Y G
April 21, 2023 – June 3, 2023
What is so new about “new media”? The original definition of “media” simply meant “material” (wood, bronze, ink, and so on). It is ironic then that new media (more commonly known as digital media) is viewed as holding an immaterial existence. The digital image after all is “made” of light and a language of binary code, not ink and paper. But why is this shift towards immaterialism an important distinction between our original definitions of media?
As printmakers, we know all too well why the adoption of new forms of media mark important cultural shifts. We know this by having intimately studied the implications of the printing press. With the birth of print media, radical changes in fundamental concepts such as originality, ephemerality, identity, and time were forced to suit the media models of the time. We are now once again faced with an epistemological and ontological crisis of the image in contemporary times.
The work included in the exhibition W Y S I W Y G uses dust and other materials known for their strong connection to these long stable concepts of time, indexicality, and originality and defamiliarizes them through the manipulation of digital tools. In the end, posing the question: “Does new media bring new problems? Or does it simply breathe new life into some of our oldest questions?”*
*John Durham Peters, The Marvelous Clouds
Alex Linfield is a multidisciplinary artist and printmaker with a Master of Fine Arts from NSCAD University and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Alberta. Raised in Treaty 8 territory (Grande Prairie, Alberta), Linfield worked in manufacturing and industry which sparked his interest in reproducibility, mass-produced objects, and industrial tools. During his MFA he was introduced to Thing Theory (a philosophy of objects) and Media Theory, which greatly influenced the exhibition W Y S I W Y G.
Produced with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Alberta Foundation for the Arts.