Augmented Reality by David Theobald

About this work

Technology and its impact on subjectivity lies at the heart of my practice. Consisting primarily of digital animation, my work and subject matter mirror the structure of the underlying technology used in its creation and the repetitive processes that seem central to the infrastructure of contemporary society. The intensive labour that goes into my animations is perversely used to produce images of objects and experiences that we normally go out of our way to avoid seeing and experiencing.

Working with digital animation inevitably raises questions about mediation in modern society.  Advances in imaging technology have the potential to stretch the limits of our senses and what we are capable of perceiving. However, much CGI and game technology instead appears directed towards anthropomorphism and a pre-canned form of wish fulfilment, the spectacular effects holding the spectator in thrall of the screen. In contrast, I’ve used animation to depict object and animal ontologies that are typically ignored by or unavailable to human beings. In many of my works we are witness to the normally unseen lives of objects, begging the question of what it means to be something. On top of this, of course, is the understanding that the completely illusory fabrication and artistic manipulation of these animated images renders these glimpses into unobservable worlds ironic impossibilities. Combined with the use of a restricted viewpoint, repetition and flat narrative, my work seems more likely to generate feelings of futility, frustration and perhaps humour which, in some cases, might give way to a deeper contemplation of the systems within which we live.

Today, location is not so much defined by geography, but by our position within the complex web of processes that make up contemporary society. My work attempts to capture such a situation, caught in a perpetual state of transit where increasing complexity is often presented as the illusion of ‘progress’. As the global economy lurches towards an uncertain future, these complex connections that form the basis of day-to-day existence seem ever more evident and ever more precarious.

About the artist

David Theobald is a video artist who works with CGI to explore technology and it’s impact on subjectivity. Although originally trained as a chemical engineer, he pursued a career in finance for fifteen years, living both in New York and London. Fourteen years ago he decided to change profession and dedicate himself to becoming a full-time artist, attaining an MFA in Fine Art from Goldsmiths in 2008.  Most recently, his main works have been animations structured from rendered objects, blending these together to create a familiar yet alien environment. These may be conventional films or continuous loops with no discernible beginning or end.

Some recent exhibitions include Move it: Parts and Labour, at the  Quad Gallery and Oriel Davies Gallery, Artist Screenings at the KARST Gallery, 971 Horses and 4 Zebras with a screening at the Tate Modern, Deepest Sympathy, at Ikon and Digitalis with Animate Projects. David’s work was included on the recent DVD, New Contemporaries Moving Image 1968 – 2010. He was also winner of the 2015 Creekside Open selected by Richard Deacon. David is a visiting lecturer at Wimbledon College of Art, part of University of the Arts.

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