Descrizione Opera / Biografia
There is authenticity in low-resolution imagery. This is how Bigfoot, UFO, and Loch Ness Monster videos uploaded to YouTube gain their validity. Similarly, the most powerful still and moving images from conflict and occupied zones are often low-resolution, heavily pixelated, and blurred. In researching this project, I began to realise how fundamental the pixel is in allowing us to cross borders in real-time through the emission and instantaneous reception of visual signals (live streaming webcams, security cameras, and mobile footage from protests, war zones and dangerous journeys). I wanted to embrace this quality—which enabled me, from Mexico City, where I was undertaking a residency—to capture beachgoers at leisure using a networked surf camera above Coolum Beach, Australia. The uncanniness of the images—at times the people documented appear more mythical creature than human—belongs to a politics of fear and threat of otherness (the pixelated face of a criminal, Bigfoot, fighter jet footage of an airstrike, or CCTV footage). These things sit at the intersection of digital and physical, and the real and imagined, where the spectacle trumps direct experience of the world, and things we recognise start to blur seamlessly into places and things that aren’t real.
Kailum Graves is a multi-disciplinary and conceptual media artist critically obsessed with the artifactual digital object. Through artworks, writing, and curatorial projects he investigates the hidden and invisible structures of power. While this interest stems from very personal experience and is a way for him to begin to understand, accept, and deal with his own complex post-traumatic stress disorder (c-PTSD), angst, anxiety, and depression, his work addresses ideas, metaphors, images, themes, (dark) humour, feelings, and symbols which are universally shared (the nuances of human existence). He uses the dynamic and fluid nature of the digital medium to explore and express inner turmoil and pain that is often hidden from the outside world. Using elements of abstraction and distortion to reflect the dissociation, memory fragmentation, and disjointed nature and challenges of making sense of one’s experiences. Kailum majored in art history and philosophy at the University of Queensland, graduating in 2011 with an Honours dissertation focused on American Internet-based activist group The Yes Men, Russian collective Voina, and international hacktivist group Anonymous as a way into discussing the wider practice of culture jamming, and to question the efficacy of political art under the hegemony of multinational capitalism. Career highlights include being exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery, Canberra; international exhibitions in the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, Greece, Mexico, Switzerland, China, Brazil, Denmark, Iceland, Russia, Portugal, Poland, Malaysia, Spain, the United Arab Emirates, South Korea, and the United States; being a finalist in numerous international and national art awards; participation in an international conference in Mexico City; residencies in Skagaströnd, Berlin, Beijing, and Changsha; speaking engagements at the 2018 Critical Animals Creative Research Symposium; winning the inaugural BigCi and Red Gate Gallery artist residency exchange program; being awarded a funded residency, commission, and exhibition at PLAN8T; being featured in Digital America; receiving Arts Queensland and Australia Council funding; winning the 2016 Clayton Utz Art Award; and being acquired by the Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery’s permanent collection. He was the founder and totalitarian head honcho of An Evolving Thesis—a website established to investigate and debate the cultural economy—and was the Director and Dictator of The Goodwink Conspiracy, an online residency program and curatorial platform.