About the artwork and sitter
Graves investigates ways of emphasising the algorithmic nature of digital photography, while at the same time paying homage to his partner, Eleanor.
“To metaphorically represent Ellie’s perpetual support during the highs and lows of my art practice—there are a lot more lows than there are highs—I repeatedly uploaded and downloaded an image that I took of Ellie to the Internet. The slow and gentle degradation of the image as it is compressed and eroded away plays with the ubiquitous dichotomies between physical and digital, and between the so-called ‘original’ and the copy. The aim of the work is to challenge conventional photographic representation, and, in doing so, to explore the creative possibilities of digital photography and photographic representation. However, more than anything—including my often conceptual and philosophical dribbles of a description—the portrait is a sincere thank you to Ellie for years of tireless support.”
About the artist
Kailum Graves is an artist and binary archivist critically obsessed with the artifactual digital object. He investigates different media and photographic methods—from appropriation to pixel and data manipulation—to create still and moving image projects that reflect the influence of technology on the photographic medium. His practice delicately exists in a space between photography, Internet art, algorithmic art, and digital performance.
“I find it boring and uninspiring when contemporary photography remains within the safety of conceptual and historical boundaries. Taking a risk, even if this risk comes to nothing, is what truly motivates and inspires me.”
Behind the scenes
The original image was a sill frame from a video measuring just 1920 x 1980 pixels. Pixels interest me because they are the smallest visible controllable element of a digital image; beyond the pixel is just pure information.
The process of persistently uploading and downloading the image to the Internet came from my fascination with the playfulness between originality and imitation—the copy of a copy of a copy of a copy (forever repeating for aeons and aeons)—throughout the history of art. I did this to the point where the work became more performative than photographic.
I find it boring and uninspiring when contemporary photography remains within the safety of conceptual and historical boundaries – things like simply photographically recreating a 17th century Dutch still life. Taking a risk, even if this risk comes to nothing, is what truly motivates and inspires me.