Always-Already a Ghost: Laura Brothers featured on Net Art Hell
Laura Brothers, come and be real for us (Dec 25, 2007). Detail area of 803 x 840 digital image.
Artist Laura Brothers, whose work was included in the online exhibition "Brushes" (co-presented by Rhizome and the New Museum as part of First Look), is featured on the newest installment of Gene McHugh's podcast, Net Art Hell.
Brothers has been posting her images to a LiveJournal blog under the moniker out_4_pizza since 2007; in his podcast, McHugh tracks the visual progression of the images through the evolution of Brothers' style and content. He points to the use of cut-and-paste image appropriation in the earlier work: imagery drawn from 1980s television, imagery from the past 40 years of rock music album cover culture, and other imagery that Brothers refers to as "timestamped." Building on this exploration of temporality, McHugh adds that the LiveJournal platform is itself dated, which emphasizes the datedness of the image content. In addition, the chronological structure of the LiveJournal feed allows the viewer to understand how Brothers' practice unfolds over time. As artist Giovanna Olmos noted in the Brushes panel at the New Museum, scrolling is a new narrative form.
Brothers' newer work is still inspired by timestamped cultural imagery, but unlike the earlier clearly appropriated collages, it alludes to its sources in loose, gestural abstractions. This style can be seen in the recent posts Cake Walk Howl (posted, according to LiveJournal, at 24 September 2015 @ 03:42 pm) and Alfredo Frenzy (posted 10 September 2015 @ 04:40 pm), which have Brothers' signature pixelated texture, but refer more to expressive sketches and figure drawing than to specific timestamped cultural images.
What the viewer may come to understand in out_4_pizza is all of this is leading to a representation of its medium: an ongoing blog or image stream in which every image is always-already a ghost, always already in flux, becoming and falling away. It's a medium-specific, self-reflexive work, not just because its imagery is born digital and pops on the screen, which it does do, but also because it describes the overwhelming power time has over images displayed in streams on screens by again and again referring to image types from the just-past and now dated and doubling the sense of that by setting everything over the LiveJournal interface. out_4_pizza performs its being right now.
Brushes is on view here.
Laura Brothers, alfredo frenzy (Sept 10, 2015). Detail area of 940x700 pixel digital image.