Drawing Machine (Output = Plotter), 2008-12

Installation view, Primavera 2012, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia
Image courtesy Museum of Contemporary Art Australia
© the artist, Photograph: Alex Davies

what is drawing?
Defining a concept is analogous to drawing a boundary line between ‘what is’ and ‘what is not’. The problem with concepts such as Drawing, and more generally Art, is that whenever a boundary is drawn, upon closer inspection the boundary seems inadequate. It either excludes something essential, or else it includes the extraneous.

Benjamin Forster’s Drawing Machine project can be summarised as an investigation of drawing using a specific system-based methodology. This project has two concurrent aims: firstly to explore ideas about drawing, and secondly to raise questions about the authority of reason and logic as methods of understanding.

This is not an investigation of any specific style of drawing, but simply drawing as the act of making marks on a surface; how these marks are made in relation to one another and, most importantly, what knowledge is necessary in order to make such marks. This investigation centres around his attempt to program a computer to draw in a way that is distinctly human, rather than stylistically digital or mechanistic. It is important that his program simulates the human characteristics of drawing because it is exactly the human quality of drawing that he has been attempting to understand. Benjamin believes it is only through comparison and contrast to human drawing that his machine’s drawings reflect the inadequacy of systems to capture the infinite detail of the world.

Work in Progress (cia studios 2011)

A selection of documentation from Benjamin and Rhiannon’s three week residency at CIA studios in October 2011. Utilising their own disciplinary frameworks and expertise as initial starting points, they began to construct simple experiments in order deconstruct the boundaries between architecture, drawing and movement, and at once learn about each other’s practice. The aim was to simultaneously develop multiple possible direction’s that can be selected from for future development. Everything is very much still in the stages of becoming, nothing is static.

Below are a selection of the experiments that occurred during this first stage of development.

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.

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Installation View


Yonder
8 September – 21 October 2012
Perth Institute of Contemporary Art

Artists: Andy Best, Erin Coates, Heman Chong, Simon Faithfull, Benjamin Forster, Tony Garifalakis and Richard Lewer, Charles Lim Yi Yong, Clare Peake, Perdita Phillips, Helen Smith, Kai Syng Tan, Warren Vance and Jurek Wybraniec
Curator: Jasmin Stephens

Yonder offered a contemporary perspective on the desire that artists have always had to know ‘what’s over there’. With the notion of ‘mobility’ as the exhibition’s central idea, Yonder considered some of the poetic and pragmatic connotations associated with this strategy for investigating, taking action and day dreaming about one’s place in the world.

The artists in the exhibition referenced material, virtual and enquiry-based itineraries that reflect a diversity of approaches to propulsion and apprehension of the world. Whether working with traditional media such as paper and pigment or recent media such as digitised text, their approaches produced the effect of a route, a path or way being taken.

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Installation View

Fremantle Arts Centre
25 Mar – 15 Apr 2011

The result of an extended residency through FACAIR, Fremantle Arts Centre’s Artist in Residency Programme, )( continues Forster’s critique of drawing, tracing the boundaries of logic, economy and the role of the artist in art making.

Forster’s curiously titled )( engages in the meaning of construction and the construction of meaning. His work is full of the fun of language puns but also a serious critique of the limitation of language. In )( Forster has erased much of the source material only to find a significant new language in the often overlooked lynch pins of text – punctuation and space. Forster reminds us that translating meaning fundamentally relies on a constant and expected language, however an artist’s practice, and importantly for Forster drawing, relies on and expands from the shortcomings of this same language.

Detailed list of works ( download ).

Catalogue with essay by Liang Luscombe ( download ).






“All the books, no matter how diverse they might be, are made up of the same elements: the space, the period, the comma, the twenty- two letters of the alphabet… In the vast Library there are no two identical books. From these inconvertible premises he deducted that the Library is total and that its shelves register all the possible combinations of the twenty-odd orthographical symbols (a number which, though extremely vast, is not infinite) : In other words, all that is given to express, in all languages.”

— Jorge Luis Borges, The Library of Babel

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Attempting to find the intersections between multiple market places, 2011

Installed as part of the 2011 Joondalup Invitation Art Award, this work repurposed a receipt printer and electronic door chime. As the shoppers moved through the space, their passing triggered the receipt printer to vomit a unique star shape onto the floor. As the exhibition progressed the waste built up – at first innocuous, then a cordoned off trip hazard, and finally shutdown.

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Critical Point Studies

diagram_critical

Ageing is the slow transition of multiple stable systems coming to critical points until an eventual fatal shift in form. — death is not a known point — skin flaking — prosthetic insertions — artificial hearts — metal knees. Where is the line between body and not body? Think about the edge of this page — the windows of building and the pores of our skin.


Motion Studies (Critical Points)

This is incomplete and lacking //
Not a perfect mapping.

An experiment capturing and analysing in parallel points of collision and the consequential duration/trajectory. Impact until rest in perpetual motion. Time! Syncopation! Rhythm!

Primavera Installation View

Installation view, Primavera 2012, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia
Image courtesy Museum of Contemporary Art Australia
© the artist, Photograph: Alex Davies

Primavera 2012
4 October–2 December
Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney

Primavera 2012 was curated by the MCA’s Anna Davis and brings together the work of Dion Beasley (NT), Benjamin Forster (WA), Anastasia Klose (VIC), Todd McMillan (NSW), Kate Mitchell (NSW), Teho Ropeyarn (QLD) and Justine Varga (NSW).

Primavera is an annual exhibition held at the Museum of Contemporary Art for Australian artists aged 35 years and under. The primavera exhibition series was founded through the generous benefaction of Dr Edward Jackson AM and Mrs Cynthia Jackson AM and their family in memory of their daughter and sister Belinda.

Works ranged from highly autobiographical performances to more oblique strategies where ‘the self’ is transformed into a fictional persona, represented by an animal, a computer program, the trace of an action or even a pile of nuts. Humour in the face of failure and an acceptance of the comic absurdity of life were other ideas explored in the exhibition as well as themes of darkness and illumination, circular time, the haziness of memory and our ability to conceptually travel through the past, present and future. The works covered a wide range of artistic practices and sensibilities, from drawing, printmaking, film and video, to performance, installation, digital media and photography.

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La Lecon D’amour Dans Un Parc, 2006

An artist book exploring both the phychological and physical topology of books. La Lecon D’amour is a drawing into the pages and surface of a second hand french romance novel.

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