20 Seconds Into the Future
by Jonathan Johnson
Much of my work is concerned with the ways that images mediate our physical and visual experiences with nature and culture. My practice of experimenting with and remixing/modifying digital media and consumer-level electronic devices results in images and time-based works that examine the complex relationship we have with photographs, television and networked forms of imagery.
20 Seconds into the Future examines the desire within popular visual culture for imagery and experience to take on the look and feel of an idealized “real” life. I am interested in how this desire often results in cultural production that packages reality as something hyper-real: high-definition monitors, reality shows and the digital sanitization of animated movies are prime examples.
This series uses consumer-level flatbed scanners that I have modified for portability to create contemplative portraits of nature, existing media and assorted everyday objects that literally blur the line between document and abstraction. Most of the images contain sharp moments of lenticular detail, as well as digital marks caused by light leaks and the general “misuse” of the imaging hardware (the images are made by pressing the scanner-camera directly onto the object/surface, usually outdoors). The details show a hint of the familiar, while the digital artifacts act as a reminder that our mediated experiences are becoming increasingly digital: portable and viewed on monitors of various sizes and stored in a code that is infinitely modifiable.
These formal contradictions symbolize the tension and indefinite space between old and new media, intention and chance, and ideas concerning photographic truth.
Jonathan Johnson is a photo-based artist who has exhibited his films and photographs at the Museo Reina Sofia, Wexner Center for the Arts, SoNik New Media Festival, The Living Arts and Sciences Center, Margate Photo Festival, Begehungen Art Festival and the University of Westminster, as well as internationally in Japan, Germany, Italy, India, Croatia, Poland, Serbia, Mexico and Romania. Mr. Johnson has received awards from The Principal Financial Group, Society for Photographic Education, Stanley Foundation and The National Endowment for the Humanities and has work in several museum and gallery collections. Currently, Mr. Johnson is an Assistant Professor of Photography and Digital Media at Otterbein University in Columbus, Ohio, USA.