James Irwin

London based artist James Irwin uses conceptual artworks to challenge the representation of the digital world as a purely positive development. Past works use Wi-Fi proof technology to cut off the viewer from the global village and lay bare digital technology in its most simple form, stripped of the gloss and glamour of its public image. Monument to the Alphabet and ON/OFF (OFF/ON), both made in 2010, are minimal interactive artworks based around the alphabetical and binary symbols that empower digital communication. Within the works, letters and words are illuminated in lights that the viewer can change using plinth-mounted interfaces. How these symbols generate meaning becomes subject to the level of interaction offered to the viewer, which is deliberately reductive, simple and slowed down. This creates the opportunity for reflection and criticism of the tidal wave of advancement that has swept society, defining a huge portion of our personal lives. His current project, Triangulated binary, explores the alienation of human beings from the digital world through a new, visual language which mirrors the computer language binary. The work renders aesthetic what is unnatural, invisible and devoid of beauty - the secret world of computer programming that underpins the explosion of global communication that has defined the modern age. Sets of eight triangles are used to represent the component eight parts of a byte of information so the viewer can see with their eyes the system that is hidden behind their screen. The language is then used to store information and even represent pixelated images. However, key to the project is distilling the paranoia and loss of control felt by the artist in a world of technology designed to empower us. The fast-developing world of the Internet has caused some to fear an at least partial collapse in human knowledge, with information stored on servers rather than in the human brain. A study of I in I stores 28 words, each four letters long, that the artist does not know, creating a database mirroring a computer memory bank. The work forces the viewer to think about their relationship with technology, but offers its own empowerment. Each piece regains control of this mysterious and sterile subject matter, rendering it in bright aesthetic colours and laying it bare for the viewer to analyse. Triangulated Binary appropriates computer language, recontextualises it on the artist's terms with a new value - their aesthetic merit, rather than their original practical purpose. read full statement

Location London