TILT Institute for the Contemporary Image
Past Exhibitions

Blake Carrington: Shaping A Signal

September 12 – November 23, 2013

The Philadelphia Photo Arts Center is proud to announce a solo exhibition of the New York based artist Blake Carrington. Utilizing a creative practice that incorporates appropriation, performance and the creation of customized software translating sound into visual data, Carrington will be presenting a selection of two projects, one of which has been produced in collaboration with the Urban Archives at Temple University. In addition to the physical exhibition at PPAC, Carrington will also be conducting two audio-visual performances which illuminate the process by which many of his works are created.

For the Loci Strata Systems series, Carrington records the turbulent, data-based forms of audio signals. A custom software engine created by the artist translates sound into a visual waveform, then uses the pixels of that waveform as raw material in a drawing process. These operations massage the signal and shape events within the environment, as any architectural structure shapes human behavior, acoustics and air flow. These images are not shot, made or captured, they coalesce within the established system. Instead of making a gestural mark with pen or pencil, the artist draws by manipulating the dozens of parameters that define the system — just as one could alter the subtle pattern of water flow by re-arranging rocks in a riverbed.

Once a still frame from the drawing process is selected, it then undergoes a translation to the analog world via the system of inkjet printing. The prints are made on the informational strata of paper consisting of a fiber base, baryta coating and ink emulsion layer. These strata recall the concept of a palimpsest (see below). The artist then performs various operations on the printed image, including drawing on top with sumi ink and tearing apart the various layers of paper to reveal the ghostly baryta pores or the ragged fiber substrate underneath.

In another series of images, Archive Strata Systems, photographs from the Temple University Urban Archive provide a reference to the optical reality forsaken by the Loci_ series. These captured visions are subjected to the informational structure of the archive, another environment with certain limits and boundaries that shapes meanings within it. The archive images are coalesced not by an algorithmic system, but by the system of consumption and exchange that constitutes our culture of images. Once printed, they undergo similar palimpsest operations as the Loci_ images.


Blake Carrington operates within the spheres of the visual, sound, and performing arts. His work in all of these forms displays a minimal aesthetic and finds resonance with the graphic sign systems of architectural plans and other minimal spatial representations. This year he completed a commission for Radio del Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid, performed in the River to River Festival in New York, and has recently been artist-in-residence at LMCC’s Swing Space on Governors Island and at Haeinsa Temple in South Korea. Last year he received a NYSCA grant in support of his debut CD release concert at the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral in New York. He has also completed residencies at HIAP in Helsinki, Atlantic Center for the Arts in Florida, and Rustines Lab in Montreal. In Syracuse NY he co-founded the platform for outdoor projections called Urban Video Project, and in 2010 co-curated a series for UVP featuring Trevor Paglen, Jill Magid, Thomson & Craighead, Miranda Lichtenstein and Jaume Ferrete. His print series Loci_, exploring the questionable translation of field recordings to abstract landscape imagery, is in The Drawing Center’s Viewing Program in New York. Blake was born in Indiana and currently lives and works in Brooklyn.


This exhibition is made possible with support from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Exhibitions Calendar