Myron Turner
Source: Myron Turner

Myron Turner

Autobiography ,
  • Autobiography Installed at WAG
    1100 × 720
  • At The Beach
    1024 × 693
  • sequential light box
    1024 × 714
"Autobiography" consisted of three light boxes and two computer stations. One computer displayed a Web site, which was created for "Autobiography". The other displayed the same material as the Web site, but provided a different way into these materials by means of non-web-based multimedia software created specifically for "Autobiography." Its images are drawn from family photos, documents and slides of earlier related work. Its texts are personal reflections on these images. Each screen or Web page displays an image in a window the upper right-hand corner of the screen and in both the web and multimedia versions, the images can be manipulated.

There are three light boxes. Two of these are from photos which appear on the computers. In the center panel of each light box is a cibachrome transparency of a painting I made from the photo some years before, and on either side of the cibachrome is a computer-generated gray scale zoom from that same photo. The third light box holds five small black-and-white film positives made, again, from images found on the computers. This light box is connected to the non-Web computer, and the images light up one at a time in response either to the viewer's pressing of a key on the keyboard or to a timer which the software implements.

My earliest exploration of autobiographical materials were paintings based on family photos, but I found myself straying from my initial impulse, which was to reconstruct the past. I began to make paintings in which there was some awareness of photographs as forms, as fragmentary conveyors of information. Eventually, I found my metaphor for the fragmentary nature of images, and of our attempts to understand our world through images, in the idea of reprocessing. This resulted in multi-panel works in which images from various sources are re-photographed and re-presented or photographs themselves re-presented in other techniques and often again re-photographed. This technique is still apparent in the light boxes which are part of "Autobiography"

Computers are the ultimate tool for reprocessing of images. "Autobiography", for instance, enables the viewer, on both computers, to zoom in on images, to rotate them, flip them, etc. The computer provides a new way of saying that images are fluid, unfixed, and fragmentary. Its images consist not of physical data, grains of silver or pen strokes, but of digitized codes representing states of electrical current. The malleability of computerized data is built into the World Wide Web, where different computers represent the same material differently, depending on the equipment and the Web software used. "Autobiography" emphasizes this malleability by displaying the same data on two computers, one accessing the Web, and one using instead the software which I developed myself. My point here is that there is no one fixed inevitable form for a work, just as there is no one version of an image. Forms, images, memories, our own self-understanding, all are subject to repeated revision and reinterpretation. And here the World Wide Web is a fundamentally contemporary form, because a web site consists in the process; it develops as its parts are ready to be posted, and is under continuous review and revision.
  • aesthetics
    • installation-based
    • multi-user
    • narrative
    • navigable
  • genres
    • bioart
    • digital graphics
    • installations
  • technology
    • software
      • C++
      • CGI/Perl
Technology & Material
Tellier Electronics: interface between sequential images and computer; Light Visions: cibachrome transparencies; Tim Paryniuk: cabinets, computer stand. (All Winnipeg)
Myron Turner: web site with cgi graphics, multimedia interface. All code written in C and Microsoft Assembly Language. At the time, adequate multimedia was not yet available, and so had to be created.
Exhibitions & Events