Blitz, by artist Tom Estesa large scale digital projection on the front of the magnificent neo-classical facade of The Weston Park Museum in Sheffield. The projection took place on June 16th 2016 for the opening night of the Yorkshire Festival.

https://artselectronic.wordpress.com/2016/07/01/the-window-for-avoiding-dangerous-climate-change-has-closed/

Installation work Watchers: Multiverse by Tom Estes- Digital images that seems to glow on the screen, drawing on real science, Biblical narrative and science fiction all at once. 

 

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 I’ve been thinking about SF and new technologies. In recent years science and technology have begun to catch up with many of the fantasies of  Science Fiction. Many of the fantasies and illusions of the past are no longer contradictions of reality, but instead an integral part of our everyday lives. So while it may seem as though philosophy and science are taking the place of religion and that our culture is becoming more logical, if you look at what has been happening religious ideas are coming back strongly. And the internet has played an active role in the dissemination of religious ideas. And so my 'installation' work introduces a new kind of artwork that functions more as an art proposal for a partially realized exhibition; a document of visual and spatial modes of presentation that theorizes a different approach. 

I often feel like I experience more and more of life 'online' rather than in 'real time'. So my work reflects this as the exhibition and on-line proliferation of my photographic images allow the 'proposed installation' to spill out from it's initial structure into an expanded field of activity. The state of being unrealized often implies the potential for realization. But creating an art-world-as-fiction by intentionally leaving the initial project unrealized, raises the question of whether this project should be understood as an online representation – using fictional space to comment on the ‘real’ world - or as intervention- actually reordering the real world. 

I begin the process of creating an installation in which a video is projected onto a three dimensional object- in this instance a book. I then document the installation by photographing it. However this 'real time and space installation' project is never intended to be carried out but instead only set up in order to be depicted by a secondary means- through photographic documentation. This has the effect of  flattening the three-dimensional object back into a two dimensional image while paralyzing the time based sequence into a single image. This closed circuit of illusion is intended to mimic and merge with the mass media desire for immediate novelty. By reducing of the 'installation' to a single image the work references and anticipates the widespread practice of sourcing images found on the web.

 

Tom Estes



 

I. Title: Watchers: Multiverse

 


Description 

Watchers is a series of works comprised from a Medieval image of the Universe projected on to a 19th century Bible. This projection was digitally photographed and printed as multiple images. Each image shows slight variations in the printing process.

Interpretation 

The earliest religions were created as a way to deal with ignorance and fear of the unknown. For some, religion is merely a superstition or an irrational belief that future events can be influenced or foretold by specific, unrelated behaviours or occurrences. However, recent scientific theory points to the possibility of a multiverse, in which many different histories play out simultaneously. For artist Tom Estes, fantasy and illusion are not contradictions of reality, but instead an integral part of our everyday lives. And as it’s not possible to reference the laws of Quantum Mechanics without reference to consciousness, it seems a likely subject as quantum systems posit the existence of many different configurations at the same time. 


Analysis 

Since the dawn of civilization, humans have wondered what transcendent intelligence could have created the universe. The human pursuit to bring oneself in harmony with collective worship as a means to find protection, solace and happiness also maintains social relationships and relationships of power as old as humanity itself.  Religious belief can therefore, be seen as one way of attempting to regain control over events in one's life. Christianity emphasises one God and one religion, but whether we believe in a god or not, whether we identify ourselves as theists, atheists or even anti-theists, our world is profoundly influenced by different, often competing, concepts of god and the divine. 



Judgment 

As the Quantum Physicist, Werner Heisenberg once famously said “the atoms or elementary particles themselves are not real: they form a world of potentialities or possibilities rather than one of facts.” In his practice Estes has focused on conditions that shape both production and reception of art. So perhaps, in this instance, creating an art work as fiction with an emphasis on the display  a as multiple image is an even more valid form of artistic agency.
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Close up from Tom Estes' work 'Watchers' which was displayed twenty three stories high at Art Takes Times Square. Artist Wanted, Times Square, New York





 

II. Title: Overlords 


Medium: Digital Projection, photographed and re-projected



Description 

 In my practice I often reference the Science Fiction and Horror genres as they have long served as a useful Vehicle for "safely" discussing controversial issues. I find that using these devices in an artistic context allows for a deeper examination and reflection. Overlords was originally conceived as a video installation comprised of images of ‘Time Travel’ projected on to a book called ‘Local History and Antiquities’. The work was deliberately left incomplete. The photographs, taken during the works formation, are the only physical manifestation of the artist’s original intent. 


Interpretation 

The project was inspired by the recent diagnosis by some analysts that the economy has become distorted in favor of the super-rich. It has been argued that what we are witnessing is not a single economy at all, but rather the emergence of two, increasingly distinct and divergent types of economy. Though alarming, this is hardly unique; drawing attention to the divide between the wealthy and everyone else has long been standard fare of the political left. In this instance, Time Travel seemed a reasonable fit as the genre of Science Fiction itself has long served as a useful vehicle for ‘safely’ discussing controversial issues about how individuals are constrained, liberated or altered. 


Analysis 

For artist Tom Estes, fantasy and illusion are not contradictions of reality, but instead an integral part of our everyday lives. As it’s not possible to reference the laws of Quantum Mechanics without reference to consciousness, it seems a likely vehicle as quantum systems posit the existence of many different configurations at the same time.


Judgment 

As the Quantum Physicist, Werner Heisenberg once famously said “the atoms or elementary particles themselves are not real: they form a world of potentialities or possibilities rather than one of facts.” So perhaps, in this instance, creating the work as a partial expression is an even more valid form of artistic agency.




 Tom Estes' work 'Overlords' received an Honorable Mention- as part of The Boston Online Biennial, displayed as a digital projection as part of The Biennial Project's VIP Opening Reception at The 54th Venice Biennale, 2011 at The Villa Giardino Segreto, Calle degli Ormesini, Sestiere di Cannaregio 1484 A, Venezia, Italia as part of AXIS 2013 in Chicago and at DRHA 2014 Communication Futures at ORNC.








III. Title: Watchers: The Crystal Skull  

Watchers: The Crystal Skull by Tom Estes, was displayed twenty three stories high at Art Takes Times Square. Artist Wanted, Times Square NY

Medium: Digital projection, photographed and re-presented as a digital display 




Description 

Watchers: The Crystal Skull is a work comprised from images of alien life projected on to a 19th century Bible. This projection was digitally photographed and shown as a digital projection. 


Interpretation 

In his practice Estes has focused on conditions that shape both production and reception of art. At the core of Estes' work is an attention to the paradox of using intervention and history as meta-narrative devices. In 'Watchers' Estes has appropriated the Sci-fi image of ancient and highly advanced alien civilizations- and literally projected it directly onto a Bible open at 'Genesis'. By merging these two existing narratives and their related ideological fictions (alien super-beings alongside our own cultural beliefs in an all-powerful creator) the artist transforms both narratives, giving rise to a host of new associations.



Analysis 

The work recalls some of the most outlandish and wild claims of conspiracy theory: that alien astronauts genetically engineered us from apes and placed us back on earth as a new species. However, by projecting directly onto the page Estes over-rides the Biblical text. This act of usurpation alludes to an even more unnerving comparison which emphasizes sex and the reproductive system. The authors of contemporary ‘Alien abduction’ stories often describe being subjected to complex physical and psychological procedures. These involve claims of humans being subjected to forced medical examination, and are described subjectively as nightmarish but real memories of being taken secretly and/or against one’s will by apparently non-human entities


Judgment 

By merging the common and the absurd, Estes alters not only our perception of Christianity, but also highlights our obsession with tabloid sensation and web fuelled social activity. So putting aside the question of whether abduction reports are literally and objectively “real”, their popularity and their intriguing appeal are easily understood. Conspiracy Theory is compelling and fascinating- but it is also as old as the world itself.










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