When the time comes to decide what should be done with the digital objects that surround us, we will need to address the issue of their conservation and possible endurance in time.
Essentially, this means figuring out the future of those artefacts and determining whether all the one-dimensional images produced by technological devices will take material form at some point. We should therefore ask ourselves if there will be a place in which to preserve and study them—in other words, what the museum of the future will look like, and what tangible structures will support it. It may be an architecture-less place where everything digital has become something physical, the result of accumulated layers of information that have lost their fluid quality and solidified into an object installed in an endless time. These questions about the visualization of interfaces, digital languages and the background of computer software and images form a corpus of interests in the works presented here by Almudena Lobera.
The artist aims to explore the possibilities of bringing the non-physical into the world of corporeal reality and identifying the various technified roles played by the images around us. This materialization of screen languages creates a kind of Digital Archaeological Museum, destined to preserve the remains of a civilization whose data streams determined people’s lives and movements.
In the pieces of the WYSIWYG series, the ephemeral signs that only appear on the screen while the computer programs are running materialize in oil paintings on panel. The same is true of the Vases (Objects for Emptying a Space) series, which presents an array of ordinary objects whose cracks reveal the entrails of 3D and graphic design programs. Vases and vessels literally pour their hearts out: their interiors are represented as the transparent and empty layers of image editing software.
This interest in exposing the constituent elements of screen images goes even deeper in the paintings and prints of Palette ASCII. Digital images from the artist’s personal archive are dissected, decomposed and turned into visual poems based on their ASCII code and their colour palette. The resulting narrative technique produces an image perceived as a text, although that text is incomprehensible to human beings. The quasi-ethnographic narrative of the Technical Images videos shows a dialogue between human activity and the uses of different devices and their codes.
Lobera constantly posits a dichotomy between the human eye and the digital lens, causing spectators to lose all notion of physical substance. This confusion translates into a dematerialization of both the biological body and the photographed face in Fossilized Filter Masks. The visages are partly veiled by filters like those used on Instagram. These pieces allude to a dimensionality that does not yet exist, a dimensionality that emerges from within and begins to take shape as a cross between what we see and the underlying tool. The artist practises a forward-thinking archaeology situated in the zero-dimensionality that Flusser conceptualizes as images on the brink—in this case, a future museum that has no architecture but is determined to endure.
– Dalia de la Rosa