James Irwin: Chroma-rot (Studioflatscape)

James Irwin

Artwork’s Title: Chroma-rot (studioflatscape), (2019), 1080p video, 7 mins 11 secs

Materials/Method/Technique Used: Oneplus 5T smartphone, laptop, After Effects, Premiere, Photoshop

Studio based: London

James Irwin, Still from Chroma-rot (studioflatscape), (2019), 1080p video

Can you tell us about the process of making your work?

With the digital moving image work that I make, the process has been continually evolving for a while. It’s a reflection on how digital media acts as a facsimile of the material stuff of physical reality. Through my video works I try and debunk this myth of the digital mirror, and puncture the illusion that the self is unquestionably present in its digital copy. I try and present the human body as pure (digital) surface, void of self. I’m conscious of how digital images work relative to post-truth contexts. We can’t trust them, and yet they form a large part of our identities – our self image.

Practically speaking, this involves taking photos and video recordings on my phone of the everyday – things like me walking around my flat. I become present in some of the recordings, usually through my reflection in the mirror. Then, through pretty heavy editing, I’ll layer these images and recordings into a screen-based surface that I try and strip of linear elements of time and space – the stuff that ties the original recordings to our experience of physical reality. This is in a fairly early stage of development at the moment – I think this is the end goal though. In Chroma-rot (studioflatscape) I’ve been using chroma-keying, a technology usually used to create the illusion of reality, to key out colours that puncture the images surface and reveals its material quality. It’s all part of research for my PhD at the Contemporary Art Research Centre, Kingston School of Art.

How would you define your work in a few words (ideally in 3 words)?

Digital copy undone.

Would you use another three different words to describe this particular (title) artwork?

Me (void of self).

Beyond the sphere of the gaming industry, do you believe people have started to engage more and more with the idea of AR works in the contemporary arts?

I don’t know many artists who are working with AR yet. There’s a curatorial platform called her visions who do things with AR filters on Instagram. I think how it’s used in contemporary art will develop. On a recent residency I collaborated with curator/artist Alejandro Ball to develop an AR based Android app to live edit video. It works in a way that extends from video compositing technologies, rather than 3D modelling that you usually see with AR stuff now. I thinks it really important for the integrity of the work for the technology to fit with the process, not the other way round.

What would be the best way to exhibit your work?

Probably in white cube type gallery spaces. My videos are best shown on screens, so there’s a physical support that separates the work (as digital surface) from us (in physical space). Projections remove this element of separation and reinforce the myth I was talking about before. This is my thinking at the moment and will probably change as the work develops.

Chroma-rot (studioflatscape) is currently being shown (on a screen in a gallery), as part of Swayze Effect at Platform Southwark. The show is a culmination of a residency I did in the summer with Agorama at their studio in Raven Row gallery, and features other residency artists Hazel Brill and Tamara Kametani.

Can you mention any artists you, lately or generally, take inspiration from?

Anna Barham, Clunie Reid, Seth Price, Rachel Rose and loads more that I can’t think of at the minute …

How do you know when this digital work was finished?

I don’t – there are endless variations that it could take. The process of making the videos is really time consuming, but I try and make the final edit quickly, and trust that the energy of this somehow translates.

What about the place where you work? What’s your studio space look like?

This is what it looked like last week:

What does your mum think about your art?

I think she’s proud of what I do. Obviously doesn’t get it though 😉

Which exhibition did you visit last?

Keith Tyson, Life Still, Hauser and Wirth.

Which are your plans for the near future?

I’ve got a video work in a group show called Humdrum, curated by Bruce Ingram for a space called The Store at Dulwich College on the 25th September. Then I’m reworking something for an online show curated by Jessy Jetpacks for Skelf in October, and I’m curating an online exhibition for Skelf that opens next April. Also, I’m going to keep working with the AR app we built on the Agorama residency to develop my research.

 Additional Works

James Irwin, Listening to Xanax (Floored and Reset: Inclusivity Version), 2018, Silvered 3D printed PLA, Zumo robot, Arduino Leonardo, vinyl, 76.8 x 77.7 x 10.3cm
James Irwin, Just Be Yourself, 2018, Permanent marker, printed vinyl, UV print and holographic paper on wooden panels. 67 x 78 cm
James Irwin, Listening to Xanax (Floored and Reset: Exclusivity version), 2018, Silvered 3D printed PLA, Zumo robot, Arduino Leonardo, vinyl, 82 x 81 x 10.3 cm

© All images are courtesy of the artist


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