September 13th, 2014


Margo Wolowiec and Nik Pence are both concerned with the accumulation and distribution of the digital image and its relationship to object-hood, authenticity, and shared histories. By creating relationships between material objects and digital ephemera, Pence and Wolowiec explore the nuances of contemporary online culture and our place within it.

Margo Wolowiec reiterates content by changing the physical state of digital imagery. Collecting images from online aggregates such as instagram and tumblr, Wolowiec sources visual information produced and shared in a stream of flowing content. By removing the image from it’s intended placement within an ever expanding digital archive, Wolowiec adds new layers of specificity to the image. She further alters its context through the use of a physically mechanized reproduction system. The images become nomadic through the transformation, losing all content and often legibility. Using a traditional weaving process, Wolowiec transforms her sourced imagery into physical pieces of woven cloth, slowing down the otherwise fast moving image while emphasizing its original existence as a collection of pixels. Each digital image is hand transferred using industrial inks to individual strands of fiber that are woven together, resulting in fragmented compositions of data. These skewed accumulations emphasize the deteriorating quality of the image over its ever-reproducible existence. The mediation of imagery in Wolowiec’s work results in a physical network of disrupted content, enigmatic context and material illegibility, suggesting an ambivalent relationship to the digital world.

While Wolowiec translates digital images into physical objects, Nik Pence reverses this process, starting with the object and changing its content through a seemingly controlled yet unpredictable online dissemination. Pence collects scarce art objects that have often slipped through the cracks of the market, historical and academic structures that constitute the objects value.  Investigating the nomadic shift of ownership and locality, Pence looks to unearth not only a material history, but also a psychosocial history of exchanges constituting the anecdotal unraveling of an underlying past. Introducing the first part in an ongoing project, Pence looks to insert an object's image into a new structure that accentuates its context. Exhibiting the 1924 Marianne Brandt bowl with lid, Pence sets up a structure for the work to be photographed by an audience for insertion into a stream of image accumulation online. The Bauhaus bowl that was once considered authentic by academic and market driven structures is currently in question by the Bauhaus Archives. This places the bowl in limbo, removing it from the documented and valued history that it once had. Investigating how information travels and exists in the unconscious, Pence looks to reinsert the image of the bowl back online, influencing the image search results associated to Marianne Brandt and the Bauhaus. By creating a structure for a controlled image, Pence invites the audience to capture and distribute an image of the object through social media, potentially resulting in an accumulation of similar yet distinct sets of images. In this case, authenticity could become a question of quantity and abundance.

Statement by Margo Wolowiec & Nik Pence