The Trawler (2013)

A conceptual text for an exhibition by MadeScapes^ at Motorcade / FlashParade, Bristol

From an electro-tropical internet basecamp, the lone user trawls the webs of reference, collecting and filtering vast tracts of data into some semblance of self.

“Rather than portraying a decentred, fragmented, disembodied self, personal homepages are actually attempts at identity integration by demonstrating to others what is important to the individual”

Vincent Miller, Understanding Digital Culture, 2011          

The trawler no longer seeks to accumulate material goods in order to communicate himself to the world. For the trawler, fantasy comfortably rubs shoulders with reality; the unreal is as real as everything else. A two dimensional rendering of a three dimensional object is three dimensional, and the trawler collects these, tagging them into groups, filtering them into collections: nothing is without relevance. The trawler inhabits the gaps between original thought and plagiarism, where someone else said something that loosely approximated what he was already thinking. The trawler is the latest product of an age when quotation provides the dominant creative outlet; he occupies a space where consumption of everything is faster, easier, and more affordable. In creating his personal homepage, he creates himself; he consumes himself. The Trawler self-curates and makes himself available for consumption by other users.

As his collection builds so his narrative develops, revealing his personal preferences as he curates himself into existence. Even the rejected has its place. As in life, the trawler’s work is revealed in front of a live audience, his self-documented narrative – an accumulation of parts of other people’s own narratives – is inextricably linked to the loops and fades of the myriad visual and audio samples he uses as his references.

Returning again to locations of interest or relevance, the trawler reinforces aspects of his persona, and as other locations fall out of favour he deletes them. In this sense, the trawler occupies a place to which it is possible to return and remove his footprints.