Pixel-by-Pixel: Interventions by Luke Murphy
Luke Murphy subverts and liberates technology through re-purposing and recontextualizing it to reveal its innate humanity.
Luke Murphy subverts and liberates technology through repurposing and recontextualizing it to reveal its innate humanity. To him, technology, screens, and code are physical and fragile in the same ways that we are—we break, crack, glitch, and can get repaired. Murphy works with the LED screens we often see outside advertising the next big thing. He sees LED screens as part of the landscape, and although these light panels are intended to be selling machines, Murphy views them as beautiful, chatty companions, so he uses them as his primary medium, undermining their form and function.
Murphy programs his works using open-source code with commercial software and hardware to create animation sequences, pixel-by-pixel, that infinitely generate on LED matrix panels. Each of his sculptures operates with its own rhythm, uniquely glitching endlessly. However, Murphy’s algorithms interact with intentionality. The crude and invasive nature of LED panels are approached with the attention of a painter or sculptor to work in tandem as contiguous parts of a whole. His animations present a distinct approach to abstraction influenced by his background in painting. There is an element of the sublime in Murphy’s work, overwhelming viewers with the infiniteness of the unknown that technology can spark, not unlike the feeling of being in a place like Times Square with saturated imagery that engulfs you and can feel disorienting.
Murphy’s interventions throughout the Museum are interruptions to the norm. His work questions whether our interaction with screens are the real experience and art is simply just the content of the experience. He is interested in exposing the materiality of technology because there is such an effort to hide the material nature of tech to achieve total seamlessness. Murphy is not trying to hide what makes his artwork function, but instead wants to remind us that technology is not fully autonomous and there are networks of energy and material production behind the functionality.
Organized by Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. Curated by Julie Ganas, curator of engagement and digital initiatives.
Luke Murphy is an artist and technologist that is interested in taking the ubiquitous, commercialized LED screen and repurposing it by creating sculptural forms with abstracted imagery to recontextualize this technology and liberate it from its intended use. He uses LED panels and found objects to create sculptures that he programs using open-source code to create dynamic animations specific to each artwork.
Murphy began his artistic practice as a painter, which still influences how he approaches his LED matrix panel works. It is important to him to create algorithms that interact with intentionality in his works, always approaching each sculpture with the attention of a painter. He lives and works in New York, where he finds inspiration in the chaotic environment of things constantly competing for attention or space.