Scott Kiernan is a multi-disciplinary artist living and working in New York City. In his video, photo and installation works, electronically synthesized and photographic elements interact to address their own materiality and means of distribution. He is particularly interested in how meaning shifts through stages of translation via technology, speech and syntax. He was founder and co-director of Louis V E.S.P., an artist-run gallery and performance space in Brooklyn, NY (2010- 2012) and now of E.S.P. TV (2011-present), a nomadic TV studio that explores the televisual as a medium for broadcast collaborations. This project also launched UNIT 11, a transmission-based residency program operating from a former ENG van turned mobile electronic studio. Kiernan also directs Various/Artists, a project producing audio/visual releases by artists working across diverse media. He has exhibited and performed internationally in venues such as Museum of Modern Art, New Museum, Museum of Arts and Design, Swiss Institute/Contemporary Art, Storefront for Art and Architecture, Whitney Museum of American Art, PERFORMA, Harvard Art Museums, P.S.122, Anthology Film Archives, Mixed Greens, Ballroom Marfa, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and the Center for International Contemporary Art in Rome.
The Room Presumed
“The Room Presumed” utilizes machine learning and real-time video processing to reveal the paradoxes inherent in the ways we speak about immersive media. In other words, the act of speaking about immersion, as is so often done in the hyperbole of tech marketing, is somewhat paradoxical. One could imagine instead, that a “truer” state of immersion may defy the need for language all together.
Following this premise, “The Room Presumed” is inspired by an early 1980s thought-experiment, as described in Howard Rheingold’s “Tools for Thought”, in which a group of computer scientists at Atari envisioned immersive “virtual reality” before the tools to design it existed. Through this exercise, they become improvisational actors inside their hypothetical environment; relegated to speaking aloud as words, the roles of the“user” and the “interface”.
The text of this work is written by a Machine Learning script trained on both this story and John Perry Barlow’s “Declaration of Cyberspace Independence”. The resulting text is becomes a set of musings to the viewer speculating on the illusory comforts, obstructions and boundaries of a so-called technological “immersion”. Enough error is left in the writing to reveal the hand of its artificial source, yet it’s also highly edited and arranged to impose a structural intent and separate this from an ML text run amok. The imagery and sound are produced in real-time, through video synthesizers, image rescanning from vector displays and through the manipulation of 3-D wireframes derived from .obj files used for video game development. These are altered by electronic waveforms in real-time and sent to a modified Vectrex display for further rescanning and processing.