Alex Hamilton

Sketches of Empty
June 7th – 24th, 2023


“pardon my dust”

“reimagining in progress”.

Google office mottos, Silicon valley.

The most pervasive new art forms are the screens we see everyday.

In a drawing style reminiscent of late Rococo and mid-career Disney, Sketches Of Empty links screens, road traffic, monoxide, unseen heating sea, and blank space. Blank incisions, of composed pianola sound coding holes, invade the picture surface, doing a different unobservant job to the visual. Music scores of the pianola coding accompanying each drawing assure us the coding is sound, but nowadays are as unreadable and therefore as elitist to most people, as trying to decipher pianola coding by eye.* These form a drawing background perhaps analogous to the unreadable activities of machinic learning or inscrutable practices of corporations managing our digital sphere. As users or learners we ignore qualities in screens, apart from accidental dust accretions, fingerprints, food spills etc; screens are transparent. SOE presents screens, however featureless, as membranes or textures with optical qualities which are 3-dimensional material surfaces of imagination and creativity. Screens are also one of many portals availing lives we lead to the surveillance economy, where algorithmic profiles and faces are mined and sold on. Our best and brightest are amply rewarded for advancing ways to read and instrumentalise emotions and intentions. Thank you for listening.

*In Gramophone Film Typewriter Friedrich Kitler describes Thomas Edison”s first sound recording, screaming “MARY HAD A LITTLE LAMB” onto a revolving wax cylinder, then trying to copy/draw/sculpt with a handheld stylus wax sound bumps of the spoken letter “a”, on to another wax cylinder. After 3 weeks Edison knew he couldn’t “write sound”. The split between symbolic inscription and recording was born. If inscription, or drawing, works properly, it won’t “mean” anything real. Instead it participates in capturing a moment of reality’s transformation.