The exhibition focuses on large-scale landscape paintings whose topographies are derived from graph data. Zawada collected and compared a variety of data series that extrapolate information over time, such as “Marijuana usage among year 12 students vs. CD and Vinyl record sales between 1975 and 2000” or “Value of land per square meter in Second Life vs. Value of land per square foot in Dubai between 2007 and 2009.” The data is then manipulated through a 3D fractal program and the resulting environment becomes a virtual abstraction that mimics a mountainous landscape.
Painted on linen, the landscapes are a response to the “virtual” reality of digital experiences that are highlighted by the intrinsic flatness and surreal color palate. Invoking the robotics hypothesis of the “Uncanny Valley,” the works take on an android quality, a sense of reality but not quite, registering with the viewer as both familiar and dissimilar. This theme carries through to his drawings, juxtaposing the hyper-real with the conceptually abstract and underlining the temporality of human experience.
This is a didactic film in disguise. A progression of brilliant geometric shapes bombard the screen to the insistent beat of drums. The filmmaker programmed a computer to coordinate a highly complex operation involving an electronic beam of light, color filters and a camera. This animation film, without words, is designed to expose the power of the cinematic medium, and to illustrate the abstract nature of time.