Artist Statement

Video Portraits, 2015. Tiff image sequence, three channels, colour, silent. 7 mins each, 21 mins total

“Three Bankers: Volcker, Greenspan, Friedman.” This is a grouped set of video portraits of three important bankers and monetary theorists: Paul Volcker, Alan Greenspan, and Milton Friedman. These portraits are taken from a larger, ongoiong series concerned with the ideologies of monetary policy and the worldwide economic collapse. Like all the portraits in the series, the base images for these videos were taken from public domain video. The originating footage was re-configured to a standard 720 x 1080 vertical format. Source images were then re-rendered as single frames, rotoscoped, placed on 3D layers, re-lit, and color graded to establish an underlying uniformity across the base layer. Layers were then processed through GLSL shader scripts written to create generative patterns of fracture, noise, and distortion specific to each of the portraits. The series is formally benign, bankers facing us, gesturing in blue light, an atmosphere reminiscent of network broadcast or video reportage, etc. However, as the distortion of each image plays out ,the bankers create a space beyond the fact of appearances, each portrait establishing an image more accurate that the originating figure itself. “A distortion which distorts itself into fact,” as Francis Bacon has memorably said of his own work in portraiture, in other words, a distortion that restores accuracy to the originating image, a distortion which undoes the semblance of stability proposed by an official version of each figure, a distortion used to return the image to fact. The public provenance of the base images is appropriate to the project. One way to interrogate systems of power is by appropriating what is put forward as journalistic, factual, and credible. To allow standard, mass broadcast images of those in control to continue undisrupted or to be society’s predominant representations of the turmoil engendered by current economic philosophies is, in a way, also a means of denying our experience of those policies.

  • ANGELA FERRAIOLO has chosen to remain focused on the human figure as the subject for art making, and to investigate the ways computation might extend or even re-imagine a studio tradition of portraiture and figuration. This distinguishes her from many digital artists who work with data, information flows, and abstracted machine aesthetics. Whether digital or analog, portraiture is a specific type of representation, one that seeks ways of reconsidering what is called fact, especially the ‘fact’ of the apparently stable surface. These portraits are at times perfectly legible and at other moments difficult to clarify. They perform a technical reality of the image while invalidating any claim appearance makes towards stability. Like the processes of banking itself, the features of these men are meant to be mysterious, open to continual reconfiguration and mutation, large and imposing, but unresolved for many reasons, not the least of which should be the question on the part of the artist as to what has been captured. What has been created, asserted, expressed? In the complex flows of money, debt, and data, can the answers to these questions ever be stable? Or is the destruction, pain, and human suffering unleashed by the economic philosophies of the past fifty years is, like any system of genocide, unrepresentable? angelaferraiolo.com

Full Text and photo p. 102-103