These works are part of a series of experimental monoprints created using discarded televisions gathered from roadside collections. The deconstructed flat screens provide a number of matrices, that have been manipulated with different intaglio techniques such as scratching and burnishing to disrupt the pattern of the surface, animating the blank screen with atmospheric, veiled forms.
Colour was added with additional plates from the same objects. Their slightly different sizes leaves a visible overlap reminiscent of old transparency film. It is a visual narrative of the layered construction of the print and a small but important cue to the past existence of the substrate; a seam to be unpicked.
Crucially the underlaying substance – the matrix, and its inherent symbolism as an object and as waste, strongly influences any attempt at interpretation. A television is totemic. It is a multifaceted phenomenon: it entertains us, it is a medium, a source of information. It carries important images to us. It can be deceptive. It is “far seeing”. It reflects the world around us; to extend Plato’s analogy, it is the contemporary cave wall.
The title Ghost in the Machine is an oblique reference to the philosopher Gilbert Ryle who coined the expression as a critique of Descartes’ dualism of body and mind. What is it that animates us? That gives us consciousness? Is there a soul? What happens when the lights go out? Existential questions these days naturally have a more environmental slant as we watch the polar ice caps melting on our wide screens. The Geist of our Time seems to be climate change. What will our generation leave as its legacy? Will it just be plastic?
(NB: in printmaking a ghost is printed by taking a second impression after the first without re-inking the matrix, allowing the residual ink to make a fainter, less distinct image)