Aliased Quarry/Diffraction Query

Hand-woven textile and digital AR application
36 inches by 144 inches with accompanying digital tablet

While weaving is often thought of as mimetic of a binary system, a more complex allusion can be found in the weaving of electricity and magnetism which results in visible light. The warp and weft threads can then represent the individual phenomena which combine to create the structure of electromagnetic radiation. Light is most perceptible as a phenomena —separated from the commonplace effect of illumination— when it interferes with itself. When two wavefronts overlap, a phenomena known as interference creates patterns which are visually similar to moiré patterns. In a complementary way, a subtle pattern in a weaving can waver in-and-out of perception when it is combined with another opposing pattern. Defined by patterns created in the overlapping of wavefronts —including the electromagnetic waveforms of perceptible light— diffraction exhibits a function of splitting varying wavelengths into individual parts which appear as defined colors. Diffraction and interference can occur without human intervention in a crystal matrix, which again alludes to the structure of weaving— a theoretically perfect repeating series which creates an emergent whole. The pattern coded into the presented weaving was calculated from diffraction produced by x-ray crystallography. This woven quarry is activated by an augmented reality application presented in concert with the weaving on a digital tablet device. The viewers' augmented reality portal queries the woven pattern and returns a 3D representation of a crystal which contains the matrix structure interpreted to create the woven diffraction. The woven pattern is then mirrored, stretched, and diffracted off the surface of the digital crystals, infinitely recombining the pattern within the weaving based on the viewer’s intra-action. The position-and-perception-dependent effect recalls the inextricable role of the observer in scientific experiments.

This work was installed at Supplyframe Design Lab in Pasadena, CA for the exhibition "Simulations and Materializations", September 2018 and at form & concept in Santa Fe, NM for "Beyond Punch Cards", May - July 2019

C Alex Clark © 2013


Using the algorithms that make Adobe Lightroom work to enhance and make visible small amounts of digital information picked up by the digital camera sensor. Instead of following in the quest to rid images of all noise and artifacts, I like to emphasize these very things. Often there is little or no discernible subject matter, and what is visible is diluted by noise and color. The images are really about what happens when the inner workings of computer programs are pushed to their absolute limits. Aesthetically, the work focuses on the gestalt principle in the technical sense of signal to noise ratio.

All images © C Alex Clark 2012


Santa Fe, NM turns into a ghost town after 11 p.m. Driving around aimlessly I tended to notice all the abandoned shopping carts that littered the vacant parking lots. These long -exposures of forgotten carts are glitchd in different file formats with quotes about consumerism. The digital distortion seen in the images is an actual visual representation of the words from the quotes. By digitally integrating the text into the image, I am able to capture the essence of the sentiment about consumer driven culture. Also, essentially breaking the file raises questions about the validity of proprietary software used to make images, and the frailty of various file types. Glitch/Cart combines the unsettling beauty of a glitched file with the distant loneliness of the carts left out through the night. The quotes used to glitch the images are located directly under each image.

"Commerce is so far from being beneficial to arts, or to empire, that it is destructive of both, as all their history shows, for the above reason of individual merit being its great hatred. Empires flourish till they become commercial, and then they are scattered abroad to the four winds." - William Blake

“Armaments, universal debt, and planned obsolescence - those are the three pillars of Western prosperity. If war, waste, and moneylenders were abolished, you'd collapse. And while you people are overconsuming the rest of the world sinks more and more deeply into chronic disaster.” - Aldous Huxley

“Governments are deemed to succeed or fail by how well they make money go round, regardless of whether it serves any useful purpose. They regard it as a sacred duty to encourage the country’s most revolting spectacle: the annual feeding frenzy in which shoppers queue all night, then stampede into the shops, elbow, trample and sometimes fight to be the first to carry off some designer junk which will go into landfill before the sales next year. The madder the orgy, the greater the triumph of economic management.” - George Monbiot

“Our modern society is engaged in polishing and decorating the cage in which man is kept imprisoned.” - Swami Nirmalananda

"The essence of the Liberal outlook lies not in what opinions are held, but in how they are held: instead of being held dogmatically, they are held tentatively, and with a consciousness that new evidence may at any moment lead to their abandonment." - Bertrand Russell

“All over the place, from the popular culture to the propaganda system, there is constant pressure to make people feel that they are helpless, that the only role they can have is to ratify decisions and to consume.” - Noam Chomsky

All images © C Alex Clark 2012