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Tom Johnson

An archive of the obsolete

Tom Johnson has produced a study of the systems and architecture of incarceration from a archaeological, post capitalist viewpoint; models and maps accented and elaborated with the diary of an infant archaeologist. Are those caged more or less free than those running loose in this nightmare of money, lobbyists and advertising we have made for ourselves? How with future generations utilise the resources with which we are filling and covering the land? As they reach physical and psychological maturity amidst the wreckage of global climate breakdown. They immerse themselves in a wasteland peppered with the remnants of incarceration and waste. Schools, factories, homes and commercial outlets merge into a labyrinth of miscomprehended activity. Ancient and near past relics blend and hybridise themselves in the mind of an individual with no cause for structured consideration.


“is that an altar, an offering, or an art?”


The investigation assesses the usage of ‘art’ as a descriptor and blur myriad and disparate observations and impressions into an impractical catalogue of posts forming a multi-format journal, threading through its story functionality and extending out from the hub of SketchUp software studies into ‘real world’ and AR footage, fickle of interest and furious of engagement. Notes and diaries, maps and models, SketchUp sketches. Mixed dialogues, real and imagined reactors - mostly unreliable, or at least steeped in whimsy. fickle of interest, furious in engagement, ignorant of old and inconsistent hierarchies. tokens and totems converge in an archive of the obsolete.

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Tom Johnson looks at how artwork and interactions translate back and forth between the digital and the real. Viewed and considered in rooms, online, in the present or somewhere in an archive or media feed. They combine engaging components to allow the audience legible framework for focus in a moment. They are interested in the interactions of multi part objects and the digital replication of tangible reality. Their work operates between painting, learning, tools and our relationship with objects in time. The work comprises wall mounted process outcomes, colour fields and fabricated or assembled objects. Digital patterns are translated into physical material with g code and machine tools, CNC routed, laser cut or 3D printed. These structured surfaces are made inconsistent, resolving themselves with colour, ornament and surface history.

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