Martin John Callanan is an artist researching an individual’s place within systems.
This exhibition comprises a trilogy of interconnected works that examines the role of technology and data and how it relates to the human condition in an age of hyper information. In a world dominated by digital media and the instant accessibility of information, his practice crosses the boundary between art and science to reveal the paradox of the promise of infinite knowledge and an absolute vision against its impossibility due to the transient nature of human perception.
The Fundamental Units: The lowest denomination coin from each of the world’s 166 active currencies are photographed to vast scale using an infinite focus, optical 3D microscope. Printed to a size of 1.2 x 1.2 metres from files with over 400 million pixels, the hyper-real level of detail, beyond normal vision, reveals the material construction and make-up of the coin together with the marks and traces from their circulation and use as tokens of exchange.
A Planetary Order: This is a 3D scale model of the earth showing cloud cover from one single moment in time. Raw information from one second’s worth of readings from all six cloud monitoring satellites overseen by NASA and ESA is transformed into a physical visualisation of real-time scientific data that delicately outlines and profiles the clouds emerging across the sphere. The sphere, or globe, has no added colour, only the sculpted whiteness of the raw material that throws a maze of faint shadows across the structure.
Text Trends: This looks at our perception of words and data when displayed in graphical form. Through animation, it uses Google data to explore the content generated by search queries and reduces this process to its essential elements: search terms -vs- frequency searched over time, presented in the form of a graph. The viewer watches the animation plot out the ebb and flow of search terms generated by internet users around the world. Pairs of words such as ‘now and later’ and ‘summer and winter’ play out matter-of-factly, with all the passion of a market index. Originally an animation, it has also been commissioned as a series of prints.
More about Martin John Callanan
Read Thierry Fournier’s essay here