Through constantly-evolving and continually innovative iterations, Jim Campbell parses one of the most fundamental questions regarding the human mind: what enables us to interpret and understand the world around us?
The 15 new works in this exhibition should, in theory, defy comprehension. They are either so low resolution (too little information) or so high resolution (too much information) that the viewer should not be able to understand the imagery depicted. Campbell’s works, however, activate our most primitive neural and sensory processes for interpreting visual clues like shape, movement, rhythm, and color. Tapping into these instincts, combined with the human capacity for complex memory and the ability to extrapolate, Campbell experiments with digital representation as a metaphor for the transmutation of data into knowledge.
Campbell’s pieces are unique among artists using technology — not only because he designs and builds the computer systems that make them function. More significantly, his choice of media is conceptually linked to his message: he uses technologies developed for information transfer and storage to explore human communication and memory. His is not technology used merely to wow, but to consider the relationship of our minds to the technologies we’ve created.
To be completed within the next few months and visible for decades to come, Campbell’s artwork on the top nine stories of the exterior of San Francisco’s new Salesforce Tower — the tallest building on the West Coast — will fundamentally alter the Bay Area skyline as well as the nature and purpose of public art. Unlike any permanent public artwork to date, Campbell’s piece will change daily, as a direct reflection of the life of the city in which it exists.