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.

relevant [ Primavera 2012 ]

Truth, 2012

Benjamin Forster, Truth
Jar and Paint,
10 x 10 x 13cm approx.

A small work commissioned for the Conservatorium Project. The Conservatorium was a exhibition of artworks in jars. The show was made up of contributions from 80 invited artists, all of whom were given the brief that their work must be at least partially contained within a glass, plastic or ceramic jar.

Curated by Anna Dunnill and Renae Coles, The Conservatorium was the inaugural exhibition at Paper Mountain. The Conservatorium was a part of FRINGE WORLD Festival, Perth 2012.

relevant [ 12 Truth ]

Postulating the Accumulation of Meaning Through the Constantly Becoming Constellation of Signs. 2011

As part of this event an edition of one-hundred unique prints on tracing paper were free for visitors to take away.

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 ]

Drawing Machine State 24:10:07

First iteration of Benjamin Forster’s Drawing Machine. Examining drawing as compositional responces to a rectangular plane.

relevant [ <09 10 11 12 Drawing Machine ]

Premise: Etching flow = Definition, 2009

This work is part of an experimental series using computer programming as a means to ponder simple ontological propositions. The underlying premise of this system is Definition = The inscription of an underlying flow onto a surface. Definitions effect the flow that inscribes further definitions. For example, Mountains and Valleys are etched by the flow of the wind. Paper trails are sculpted by the flow of Capital. Things come into being momentarily, appear stable for a time, but eventually the tides shift.

relevant [ <09 Codeworks ]

Ambiguous I, II, III, IV, 2010

What makes an image offensive? And how does this relate to the boundary between meaning and information?

Ambiguous is a series of digital prints. Each one contains the exact same pixels sourced from an ‘aberrant’ image, although each image is a unique algorithmic translation of this taboo data. They all are displaying the exact same data; concealing and censoring in plain sight. The simple process for each translation is displayed at the bottom of each image.

relevant [ 10 Rational ]

Discourse, 2010

This work is the result of an inquiry into the process of conversation based purely on statistical probability. The transcript actively spilling forth from the two receipt printers is a hypothetical dialogue between the two classical economists Karl Marx and Adam Smith.

The System.

Each sentence is constructed from the statistical probability within a source text that any given word follows from another. The two source text used are Karl Marx, Capital, Volume II: The Process of Circulation of Capital, and Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, Book II: Of the Nature, Accumulation, and Employment of Stock.

Starting from scratch the first word is randomly chosen based on its frequency within the source text. Words with a higher frequency of occurrence are more likely to be chosen then words appearing less often.

The next word in the sentence is then randomly chosen from all the words that follow the proceeding word. This choice is informed by the frequency of those words occurring after the preceding word/s within the entirety of the source text. Then the next word is chosen based on the preceding two words, and so on. It is important to note that this specific instance of the system is limited to a maximum resolution of three preceding words. This process continues until the sentence ends. A sentence is ended when there is no word within the source that follows from the preceding word/s, or given a series of words there is a high probability that a full stop, or equivalent symbol, occurs next in the source.

Conversation.

The system of conversation is very limited. There are only two agents within any conversation. The agents take turns in talking. When one agent talks, the other listens until the end. There are no interruptions.

One agent is randomly chosen to begin the conversation. It constructs a sentence from scratch as describe above. When the sentence is finished the listening agent responds.

A response is constructed by searching the sentence received from the other agent for words or series of words that occur within its own source text, or vocabulary. It then selects between these based on the probability of potential words that follow within its source text. Words or series of words that have the largest amount of possible continuation are more likely to be selected then those with fewer. Once selected, the agent then chooses the first word of its response using the procedure described above.

This process is endless.

This work has also been reproduced as a 180 page book, “Karl Marx and Adam Smith: Dialogue. An inquiry into conversation through statistical probability“. Indefinite edition.
Resale price: $49.95

Discourse won the Non-Aquisitive Prize at the 2010 Fremantle Arts Centre Print Award.

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

relevant [ )( ]

Discourse (video + transcript)

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

Adam SMITH: to have been always exported by foreigners who gave in exchange for something that had been purchased with it but only to one or other of those four ways are themselves productive labourers.
Karl MARX: several big branches of business.
Adam SMITH: industry or of certain districts of the country could absorb and employ will return upon it almost as fast as they were emptied.
Karl MARX: until after three weeks are up that is to say in the sphere of production.
Adam SMITH: in general idle and poor.
Karl MARX: capitalists.
Adam SMITH: of money being necessarily regulated by what can commonly be given for the use of the loans.
Karl MARX: borrowed land and capital borrowed by the industrial capitalists employ their capital to pay for labour power and thereby to maintain it.
Adam SMITH: increase very considerably the annual produce of the land and labour of any country which is employed in agriculture not only occasion like the workmen in manufactures the reproduction of a value equal to the revenue of all its dealings.