Appearances, 2010

Intended to raise questions about identity within a culture of increased surveillance and machine intelligence, this work is a simple computer vision system that analyses a live camera feed for faces. The system records all the faces it encounters into a database and then replaces newly seen faces randomly with one recorded previously. Installed opposite the monitor is a large drawing derived from facebook, which the system reads as human faces and records, replaces the drawn faces with actual visitors to the gallery and vice versa.

relevant [ 10 Rational ]

Index of all possible forms (65,536) + Every possibility iterated over time, 2011

process: A clock. Changing every second this clock iterates through every possible form within the structure of the LED display. A total of 65,536 forms. From time to time a recognisable structure strikes – An A or a B, a + or a -. These are moments of clarity in a completely determined system of nonsense.

relevant [ )( 11 ]

Drawing Machine (Output = Screen)

Film demonstrating the general progression of the screen-based version of Benjamin Forster’s Drawing Machine.

“…a digital environment is an abstract projection supported and sustained by its capacity to propagate the illusion (or call it a working model) of immaterial behavior: identification without ambiguity, transmission without loss, repetition without originality.”

— Kirschenbaum, Mechanisms: New Media and the Forensic Imagination (2008)

relevant [ <09 10 11 12 Drawing Machine ]

Archival information. Redundancy. 2011

According to the Rules of Chance, 2009

Inspired by Jean Arp’s Untitled (Collage with Squares Arranged According to the Laws of Chance). This video work is generated by randomly rearranging and moving image fragments depicting the Belconnen bus interchange (now demolished). Artworks like our built environment are not static they live and breath, come into being and disappear again. All of my digital works rely heavily on notions of chance, although ironically there is no chance within a computer. Everything is deterministic.

relevant [ <09 Codeworks ]

Notes on the Particulates, 2012

In ‘Notes on the Particulates’ (2012) an old dot-matrix printer has been hacked to print tiny constellations of text on a loop of paper. This generates an automatic essay and demonstrates an ill-formed and unrelenting struggle to understand language through language, in language . All my machine-based works are thought experiments. Notes on the Particulates explores the role of accumulation in the formation of meaning. Starting as an empty loop of paper, the printer endlessly re-distributes fragments of Gilles Deleuze’s writings on language from Difference and Repetition and The Logic of Sense. At first fragmentary, as the text builds up it shifts into legibility. As time progresses this legibility is superseded by nonsense, which is in turn transformed into visual forms, reminiscent of clouds. Eventually, the pulverised and ink soaked paper gives way to its frail materiality: The paper jams – breaks – halts – spasms… Silence. Repeat. The ideal perfection of machines and words is betrayed.

Primavera 2012, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia
Image courtesy Museum of Contemporary Art Australia
Photography: Robbie Karmel

A Written Perspective, 2012

This video is in part an illustration of the philosophical proposition, “the world is written”, and in part a critical experiment into the ever increasing rationalisation of imagery though ubiquitous mediation. Using a custom text detection algorithm, footage from around the Joondalup Shopping City has been processed. Everything that is not determined a word, is erased. This custom algorithm does not look for known letters, but rather in an attempt to avoid anglocentrism checks for properties common to the written word across all cultures.

Winner of the ‘Award for Excellence’ and ‘Celebrating Joondalup Award’ at the 2012 Joondalup Invitation Art Award.

relevant [ 12 Codeworks ]

281474976710656: The catalogue of forms iterated over time, 2012

The catalogue of forms is endless: until every shape has found its city, new cities will continue to be born. When the forms exhaust their variety and come apart, the end of cities begins.

––– Italo Calvino. Invisible Cities.

281474976710656: The catalogue of forms iterated over time is a large time-­based sculpture adopting the visual language of digital clocks and the principles of Victorian era ornamentation. Comprising of 48 red light-segments arranged in an ornamental pattern. Each segment has the programmatic potential to be either ‘on’ or ‘off’. Controlled by a custom computer program, the work systematically shifts through every possible combination of light patterns. The system has a total of 281,474,976,710,656 unique combinations/patterns. This is a number that is almost unpronounceable. Moving systematically through every possible combination at one second per state the system will continue to run for approximately 9,151,158 years before repeating.

Mapping (study)

An experiment in reconstructing the mapped architecture through movement. Imagine forty bodies articulating the facades, establishing rhythm and form. Now imagine after a time they blindfold themselves, repeating the movement from memory. Slowly shifting until the accumulation of errors result in complete break down. Or imagine another group of bodies ignoring the implied architecture, walking straight lines through the established structure.

Thank you to the dancers from LINK dance company for helping sketch this idea.


1. Use an entrance or exit as the starting point.

2. One person is the measuring device. Choose whatever body part is appropriate to the distance of the surface being measured (for example small distances can be mapped with finger lengths and larger distances with body lengths).

3. Measure the distance of each surface of the space, including permanent fixtures, sequentially in an anti-clockwise direction.

4. Record the distances as amounts of the chosen body part and notate the direction of the surface in relation to the previous measurement (for example 5 forearm lengths 90° left).

5. Record any opening on a vertical plane (for example window, vent or door) as a gap.


1. In a new space mark a point spatially relative to the starting point of the first space.

2. Sequentially map out each of the listed distances and directions using another person as the measuring device.

3. Mark the lengths and joins with materials that work well in the new space (for example pegs and string for soil or masking tape for concrete).

4. Leave gaps where notated

An overview

Spatial Drawing
27 July – 31 August 2012
VENN Gallery, Perth

Spatial Drawing investigated contemporary approaches to drawing, featuring works of three Western Australian artists, Benjamin Forster, Tom Freeman and Clare Peake. Drawing underpins diverse and complex approaches to art making for each of these artists, whose practices also comprise of sculpture, video and installation. In Spatial Drawing each artist explored drawing further through the creation of physical formations and sculptural works that discuss notions of how we engage with space.

The catalogue essay by Gemma Weston is available here.


relevant [ 12 Spatial Drawing ]