Artists You Should Know
Many decades before the Internet cultivated fake news, philosopher Michel Foucault flipped the dictum “Knowledge is Power” into its ominous mirror image: “Power is Knowledge.” By reversing the cliché, Foucault prophetically revealed a dire—but more realistic—equation of how authority uses mass communication to control what becomes “truth.” In his new series, Technoselfie, Sean Noyce tackles this quandary for our media-inundated age, painting Tarot Card-like compositions that offer a stacked deck of inauthentic information, glitch coding and false prophets.
The underlying subjects in Technoselfie are 20th-Century occultists and soothsayers like Aleister Crowley and Patricia Crowther, who both gathered followers in the pre-Internet age with their louche agendas. Noyce writes a computer code and filters Crowley’s and Crowther’s images through the algorithm, leaving traces of their presence on each panel in silkscreened pools of pixilated distortion. While these characters inhabit the under-layer of each panel, both thematically and visually, Noyce superimposes a dominant motif, a classical bust on a ceremonial altar. Objects that refer to the modern rituals of fast living (needles, razor blades) tumble in the mix with Masonic symbols and dripping candles, conjuring a Grand-Guignol ambiance that allows for little optimism.
Noyce grew up in Utah, in a conservative atmosphere of restrictions and morality; as such, the Salt Lake City-native knows a few things about homegrown prophecy. In his statement about Technoselfie, he lays out a mission: “The task of our time will be to understand the forces behind programming and take control of our own narratives.” While governing ¬our own narratives might be a challenge, Noyce offers us a cautionary one in his work.
(Sean Noyce is half of Noysky Projects, a Hollywood gallery co-founded with the artist, Katya Usvitsky, also a Fresh Face in this issue.)