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Trace Online writing centre, The Nottingham Trent University, England

24-03- 2004

Look at Me

Introduction by Simon Mills

There is a tendency amongst much contemporary new media art to be caught up in reflecting upon the conditions of its own existence. Data mapping, network visualisation, generative algorithms are some typical artists strategies we see recurring in the creative application of digital technology.

It’s refreshing, therefore, to explore the work of French artist Nicolas Clauss. His work, as you will see from a brief visit to his Flying Puppet website, is more to do with the human than with the machine. This is definitely not the work of a computer scientist (as Manovich considers some software art) but of an artist, in the more traditional sense, who has extended their skills into the areas of motion, interactivity and sound. Clauss’s work has a sensuous quality to it that seems to try and disrupt the smooth surface of the screen as well as a tangible atmosphere enhanced by the subtle use of audio.

Like much of his work, his piece for frAme, Look at Me refuses to be easily interpreted. The piece revolves, at times literally, around a core set of photographs of anonymous faces. The explorer’s interactions seem to be to attempt to investigate the meaning of these photographs. Is the work a comment on the tireless information collection regarding our everyday habits in this administered society, a visual representation of the human origin of the database? And what of those dots? Are they bullet holes? Are the faces of anonymous victims? Could the piece be some kind of memorial? Alternatively the faded pictures might be from an old yearbook, their calls for attention indicative of the vanity of sites like Friends Reunited.



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