As part of a series of artworks made using Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) machines – originally programmed to paint with a self-filling brush and ink device – Ted Lawson decided to hack the device to use his own blood, which led to the notion of a self-portrait.
“I don’t really like being the physical subject of my own work and was not particularly thrilled to pose nude, but the purest execution of the concept demanded it,” he told Dezeen. “The idea of connecting the self directly to the machine and then making that connection to the other works in the show was important to me.”
…The image started as a photograph, which was initially translated into a bitmap image and then a more complex vector-based artwork. This in turn was turned into the “g-code” that runs the CNC machine, dictating the speed and direction of the brush’s movement.
…The process took several hours to complete and Lawson had to drink fruit juice and eat biscuits to maintain hydration and sugar levels. “It uses a significant amount of blood, but clearly not enough to kill me,” he explained. “I have not passed out yet.”
…The artwork is part of a series called The Map Is Not The Territory, which explores the way we perceive reality by abstracting or mapping it, and the role that technology plays in that process. The whole series will appear in a solo exhibition at Joseph Gross Gallery in New York from 11 September to 4 October.
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