The project examines the transformation of a traditional object, the Azulejos, into a consumer object in terms of imagery, neomateriality and value creation within the tourism industry. Amid questions of tourism and gentrification, the project explores the transformation of Azulejos from hand made craft object to an image of itself. Superimposed onto multiple surfaces using the digital reproduction process, the image gains magical power to elevate the value of the object it has been inscribed over.
This value varies with the reproduction quality. A high-quality image would produce the illusion of handmade traditionalism, that the object is not of industrial origin. Inversely, towards the low-quality spectrum, the digital and industrial processes of mass production are clearly recognizable, rendering the souvenirs less likely to be consumed.
The neomateriality of the consumer object is one of the main points of interest in this project. Christine Paul defines neomateriality as an “embeddedness of the digital in the objects, images, and structures we encounter on a daily basis and the way we understand ourselves in relation to them.” Neomateriality expresses itself within the contemporary culture in the form of objects that, as part of their form, reveal their own coded materiality, where that codification becomes a residue of digital processes.
Looking at the low-quality souvenirs and consumer imagery, in “LisbonLQ2.jpeg” the process of image-making and digitization is being traced, attempting to find the human hand involved in the steps aiding in the creation of neomaterial consumer objects.
The residency was supported by Arts Council Malta Cultural Export Grant
Open Studio Sept 2019
(showing the project’s early stages)
The works involve experiments with imagery, ceramic tiles inspired by elements of construction sites, flawed low qulity souvenirs bearing traces of flaws within the digital process they were created with. The investigation is ongoing.
Supported by Arts Council Malta