Sean LOWRY

Ghostly Familiarities: The Concealment of Strategic Appropriation in Recombinant Production Methodologies

Abstract:

Although the strategy of appropriation was central to much art criticism of the 1980s, with the development of more advanced digital technologies, the rejection of 1980s-styled critical theory, and the threat of copyright infringement, artists have inherited myriad incentives for ‘concealing’ digitally appropriated material. Formerly an iconoclastic strategy, appropriation has become a default, yet tacit, means of extending qualities. ‘Subliminal appropriation’, a methodology developed in the production of electronic rock bands Def FX (1990-97), and Celebrity Drug Disasters, employs a database in which thousands of Top 40 songs are categorised in terms of matching key and tempo properties. Data-matches are then digitally sampled, distorted and re-sequenced to produce ‘new’ songs – albeit with a ‘ghostly’ sense of familiarity. A similar approach is used to generate visual works using prototypes sourced from mass circulated corporate logos (as opposed to the relatively lower circulation of art historical references). Documentation of this methodology has formed the basis of a PhD dissertation and a series of related exhibitions. This production methodology is therefore tested and developed across a range of media and in relationship to both critical and commercial markets.

Download Ghostly Familiarities: The Concealment of Strategic Appropriation in Recombinant Production Methodologies (97.96 KB)

Sean LOWRY:

Sydney based artist Sean Lowry is both a practicing visual artist/theoretician and a producer of electronic music. After achieving considerable commercial chart success in Australia, Asia and North America during the 1990s with his electronic rock band Def FX, he returned to complete his PhD in visual arts at Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney, in 2003. His latest project, Celebrity Drug Disasters (in collaboration with co-producer Rob Taylor), was recently signed with Shock Publishing, and is rapidly gaining national attention both live and on radio. Dr Sean Lowry is also a frequent contributor to Broadsheet: Contemporary Art + Culture, an exhibiter and curator of contemporary visual art, a current Board Member at Artspace Visual Arts Centre, Sydney, and is currently lecturing in the Painting Department at Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney.