Making-with: the generative chemigram

5 sheets of B/W RC photographic paper, assorted resists; sculptural performance
20″ × 24″ panels
August 2022

In Considering the Performance of Creation —

We appreciate the gestural body. Resists are painted; poured; flung; spread. The artist’s body dances around the paper. The splatters and brushstrokes that remain on the page are a trace of creation — proof of intervention, and documentation of a kinetic act. Interrogation of the suspended image reveals clues as to its lineage — bands of development countable, in the manner of a tree trunk. In all: the body is mobilised, ambulated, captured in motion.

In Considering the Performance of Labour —

Paper is dipped into pools of fluid. It is carried; alternated; bent; scored. I emerge from the darkroom with blistered and peeling toes. This is labour. Exertion, spent as creative currency in the production of tangible objects. Activation of the body is achieved through means unnecessary through other modes of creation.

In Considering the Performance of Exhibition —

The work is left unfixed. Areas remain sensitive to light, charged by a capacity to shift. The page can be sent to purple, pink, blue, or grey: production of the sun. Every interaction with this artefact is novel and ephemeral. The engagement of the audience becomes performative. In the tradition of the rich image, this would be decay. Never in the eroded bed of the poor image, a copy in motion.

In Considering the Performance of the Chemistry —

There exists a sympoietic relationship between the artist and the chemistry. This is the agency of chance, attributed to the conditions of creation. The artist learns manipulation-through-practice. Still, the image will surprise with every emergence. The practice is generative, forged through degradation and dilapidation. Chemistry is a collaborator, making-with.

A cut apple rests between flowers, arranged over a crumpled plastic film
Full installation shot

Liam Macann works though a profusion of new media art disciplines, operating out of Sydney. His works often investigate the philosophy of technology, alongside themes of labour, chance, and social history.