Neo Surreal

An old computer wearing a policeman's hat with a whip in front of it
You Are Under Arrest
A pill opening up to reveal a computer chip inside

Neo-Surreal is a collection of work that extracts intentionally and unintentionally surreal imagery from 1980s BYTE magazine ads. The reconfiguration of this material highlights the ways in which such imagery, viewed in hindsight, inadvertently portrays some of the stranger and more sinister aspects that technology eventually came to embody. For instance, I found things like a computer wearing a policeman's hat and wielding a riding crop (evoking surveillance) or a pill opening to reveal a computer chip (evoking biometrics). Similarly to Richard Prince in his Cowboys series, I've done nothing here except to remove the text, restore some backgrounds, and re-title the images.

I made Neo Surreal during my artist residency at the Internet Archive, and exhibited it as a series of prints at Ever Gold alongside the work of the other two resident artists, Laura Hyunjhee Kim and Jeremiah Jenkins (read a review of the show here). Neo Surreal has also been exhibited at The Photographers' Gallery and HMKV Hartware MedienKunstVerein. I collaborated with Colpa Press to produce a full-bleed zine of selected BYTE ads, available through Printed Matter.

a toddler playing with toy horses in a toy barn that looks like a computer
Home Alone
an old computer display in a field with cows
Greener Pastures
A sewn fabric pillow version of a computer, with felted floppy disks in front
Soft Computing
A businessman dancing with a giant floppy disk that has women's legs, while throwing a regular sized floppy disk into the air
A Private Moment with DOS and UNIX
A businessman arm wrestling with a muscular arm coming out of a computer display
I'm Losing
A businessman dancing with a giant floppy disk that has women's legs, while throwing a regular sized floppy disk into the air
After Hours
two hands pointing index fingers in opposite directions at keyboard buttons floating in space
Don't Press the Buttton
An old computer, with the middle part opening up and glowing white
You Will Be Assimilated
A golden robot oversees silver robots at a conference table while presenting a graph that shows productivity going up. Each robot has a floppy disk in front of it, and in the mirror behind the golden robot, a computer display is visible
The feet of a crowd of reporters with a hand holding a microphone down toward a computer as if to interview it
Sound Byte
A bird's egg cracked open to reveal a printer
A Printer is Born
A macaw landing on a tape handling device
A repeated image of a bald businessman whose upper face has been replaced with computer displays showing abstract graphics
Join Us
A computer chip inside an I.V. drip with the label Type O Positive
Just Hook It To My Veins
A person entering a maze whose walls are cubicle height, with some sections labeled Floppy Disk, RAM, Cursor, Bit, Memory, and Byte. In the center is a confused looking businessman at a section labeled Interface
Lost at Interface
Agaist a backdrop of outerspace, neon lines show the outline of a man typing on a keyboard-like shape that connects to an abstract 3D grid
Connecting to the Void
A Universal Data Systems telephone in a featureless setting with a door opening onto the sky
Calling No One
A box, an old computer, and a TV monitor in the desert
How Did We Get Here
An old IBM computer covered in spiderwebs, and whose screen says R.I.P 1981-1983
A plugged-in power system device with a burning candle on top of it
An old gold miner pointing to computer chips in his pan and saying, Eureka!
A gun shooting a bullet from the left, but the bullet appears on the screen of a computer to the right
Shoot Your Computer
A power system device with a cable next to an apple with an electric outlet
Apple Powered
A floppy disk that says Dayflo Free-Form Database, embedded in the middle of a brain
Stuck in My Head
A wizard-like man holding a stylus to a model airplane, while a wireframe image of the plane shows on a nearby computer display
The Wizard
An illustration of interlocking mechanical parts inside an apple, superimposed onto an intense closeup image of someone's eyes
Think Like a Computer
A formal businessman sitting at a table holding a floppy disk upright, with a spotlight on the disk so that his face is obscured by dark
The Documents
A creepy mime removing the middle part of a computer as if it were a paper cutout
Don't Sleep
A plotter, keyboard, tablet, and handful of graphs in outer space with shooting stars and lasers
Working From Space
In the foreground, a disk drive and circuit board; in the background, a computer display covered in a messy pile of floppy disks
Yesterday and Today
A photo composite of images of the same businessman, showing how he turns a computer display from portrait to landscape orientation
Both Ways Up
Against a dark red and purple CGI background with a checkerboard floor, multiple frames of a crude 3D skeleton crouching and jumping to the left
A Fine Line
Around thirty people, cut out from different computer ads and each embedded into their own abstract rectangular column of varying height. A white line connects the hands of each person to a glowing white orb in the center of the image, against a sickly brown sky.
The Orb of Ambivalence. This print collects people from 1980s-era computer ads and catalog images. In the original image from which each person was taken, he or she was touching a computer, keyboard, or mouse.