nathaniel scanning lilies in South Bend, Indiana


Compressionism is a digital performance and analog archive, where the artist, Nathaniel Stern, straps a desktop scanner, computer and custom battery pack to his body, and performs images into existence. He might scan in straight, long lines across tables, tie the scanner around his neck and swing over flowers, do pogo-like gestures over bricks, or just follow the wind over water lilies in a pond. The latest in the series sees me bringing a marine-rated scanning rig scuba diving on a coral reef. The dynamism of his relationship to the landscape is transformed into beautiful and quirky renderings, which are then produced as archival art objects using contemporary and/or traditional processes. Compressionism follows the trajectory of Impressionist painting, through Surrealism to Postmodernism, but rather than citing crises of representation, reality or simulation, my focus is on performing all three in relation to each other. He is currently (2014) building a sub-aqueous imaging system, so as to produce these images as a scuba diver on a live coral reef. Here Stern will fold not only time and space into the printed images, but also the impacts of water and land, life and non-life, that we perform with every day: as individuals, and as a people.

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performative scanner art