The pieces speak to the artist’s preoccupation with a sense of alienation which seems to result from the intensification of virtual experiences amidst the commodification of attention and of relations to nature.
Jenks gathers digital recordings outdoors as a way of re-approaching the non-man-made from a technologized habit; usually in marginal spaces of “undeveloped” causeways, medians, and creeks between paved terrains where plants and animals are allowed to grow as they may.
The recordings are crafted into interactive systems, efforts to formalize the artist’s aesthetic appreciation and reverence for both the wild and the technical, but also engage the audience with the degree to which they are insulated by contrivance.
The interactive aspect of the systems undermines expectations of user experience (such as precision control and goal achievement) which have become ubiquitous in digital media and CAD tools. The motion tracking causes the works move directly under human input, but at a certain point they defy direct manipulation, kicking up fits and following their own internal structure, or not moving at all. The encounter with the potentially sublime yet passively malleable natural object abstracts and dissolves to reveal the underlying elements of digital simulation.
Technology is arguably the natural manner of humans, and technology - along with all of human activity - is encompassed within the realm of natural possibility. However, humanity’s practices of colonizing and instrumentalizing nature are out of balance with the cycles of our ecosystems. We see this more as our ability to sense and measure the world deepens. Where do we find ourselves and what do we decide to do?
Morgan Jenks (b. 1985) is an audiovisual artist based in central Texas, working in real-time and interactive media, performance and music production. His practice started from an enchantment with the emergent possibilities of generative art and videogames. Much of his recent work has taken gardening and outdoor exploration as source material for digital abstraction, complicating the line between idealism and cynicism. Jenks has presented work at CICA Museum in Gimpo, South Korea, the Telfair Museum Jepson Center in Savannah, Georgia, The Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, Virginia, and various other venues across the US.