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– Artist-in-Residence blog post 5: Outlines

Posted on Nov. 28, 2013 by Benjamin Forster in Artist and curator Interviews.

Child's drawing from a Sunday Family Fun Day

Child’s drawing from a Sunday Family Fun Day

After the obliqueness of my last post I wanted to offer something lighter.

Endless iterations:

These videos are all works in progress and will continue to evolve and/or be refined. They can be thought of as provisional drawings themselves, not as finished objects (commodities) rather as extensions of thought. Ideally these traces should not be viewed in isolation but as a series – hopefully weaving together an ‘image’ of the absent object (The Organisation) that they traverse.



A custom computer program records the traces of visitors movements using the hundreds of surveillance cameras scattered strategically through out the MCA. This constellation of cameras are themselves a trace of sponsorship.



A visualisation of the wifi usage around the MCA – interpreting the movement of visitors as they shift from one hotspot to another.



Looking at the cab charge log book, where staff detail there intended travel to generate traces on maps of Sydney.



Possible future traces:

Movement of artworks (collection storage and outward loans)
Venue hire / room use. Library catalogue. Archive. Web traffic.
Capital flow – in and out. Exhibition floor plans. Organisational structure.

. . .

More words:

Rebecca Solnit in A Field Guide to Getting Lost (2005) momentarily muses on the 600 year old edict of a Tibetan sage – “Emptiness is the track on which the centered person moves”. She goes then on to quote from the book where she had found this text :

“‘Track’ in Tebetan: shul, [is] ‘a mark that remains after that which made it has passed by—a footprint, for example. In other contexts shul is used to describe the scarred hollow in the ground where a house once stood, the channel worn through rock were a river runs in flood, the indentation in the grass where an animal slept last night. All of these are shul: the impression of something that used to be there. A path is a shul because it is an impression in the ground left by the regular tread of feet, which has kept it clear of obstructions and maintained it for the use of others. As a shul, emptiness can be compared to the impression of something that used to be there. In this case, such an impression is formed by the indentations, hollows, marks, and scars left by the turbulence of selfish carving.’”

The french term ‘Trace’ also has strong connotations of track, footprint, imprint.

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Benjamin Forster

Benjamin Forster’s practice may be positioned within contemporary drawing, bringing together digital and biological technologies, installation and print to trace the boundaries of logic, economy and the role of the artist in art making. He received a Bachelor of Visual Arts with
 First Class Honours from the Australian National University in 2009.
His Drawing Machine project was exhibited in Hatched 09: The National Graduate Exhibition at PICA, as well as the International Symposium on Computational Aesthetics 09 in Victoria, Canada. In 2012, Forster’s work was included in PRIMAVERA at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney in 2012 and NEW13 at ACCA in 2013.

Benjamin undertook a 6 month residency at the MCA during 2013, after which he was commissioned to create a work for the MCA.

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