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Body-Mined Show Catalog
by Glenn Zucman

"Space travel challenges mankind not only technologically but also spiritually, in that it invites man to take an active part in his own biological evolution… In the past evolution brought about the altering of bodily functions to suit different environments. Starting as of now, it will be possible to achieve this to some degree without alteration of heredity by suitable biochemical, physiological, and electronic modifications of man’s existing modus vivendi."

-Manfred Clynes and Nathan Kline, 1960

Marshall McLuhan famously noted in 1967 that "If you are really curious about the future, just study the present… What we ordinarily see in any present is really what appears in the rearview mirror. What we ordinarily think of as present is really past… People never want to live in the present… people live in the rearview mirror because it’s safer…"

Perhaps there is nothing that causes McLuhan’s words to ring true more than the four-decade-old writings of Manfred Clynes. If humankind’s existence as cyborgs was so clear to Clynes almost half a century ago… if Clynes vision is now, 42 years later, the "present" we see in the rearview mirror… then what is the unseen present… the unacknowledged present… the feared present… that lurks everywhere among us but is largely unacknowledged out of fear or ignorance? What is the unacknowledged present that will be tomorrow’s present… in the rearview mirror?

If today’s rearview present is that we have become cyborgs, then perhaps the future-now is the art of the cyborg. The art of the man-machine. Enter Scott Blake. Who better to make tomorrow’s art today than Blake, the self-described "seller of pixels."

Indeed, in keeping with his pixel-pushing digital persona, unlike the other 38 artists represented in this exhibition catalog, Blake did not walk into the Gatov Gallery in Long Beach, California and say, "here’s my art." Indeed Blake did not set foot in the state of California. Instead he digitally transmitted a hundred-megabyte file of his work from his Savannah home to our curatorial offices in Long Beach. In another rearview mirror moment, on receipt of the file the curators discussed with Blake the size of the artwork to hang in the gallery. How reminiscent this was of Marcel Joray’s 1965 writing on the work of Victor Vasarely, "The ‘originals,’ in fact, do not exist. These are prototypes, which he subsequently recreates, according to his mood or the occasion, in sizes that may be ten centimeters, or a meter, or ten meters."

Blake’s art of the cyborg then, knows no boundaries. He creates idea files that rely on the ubiquitous digital infrastructure for instantaneous-simultaneous transmission to all connected nodes on the planet.

Drawing on the work of Vasarely, Chuck Close, Leon Harmon, Arthur Mole, Rob Silvers and others, the content of Blake’s artwork is… the content of Blake’s artwork. In this, the age of simplicity & complexity – one wonders how long that’s been hanging in the rearview mirror – Blake employs a variety of fractal reductive techniques to render a portrait composed of some faux fractal element. This is to say, that from a distance the image appears photorealistic, but from close up, one discovers not the expected fractal elements, such as pores in the skin, but instead some sort of cybernetic architecture of Blake’s design. In works such as his award winning Bar Code Jesus, Blake has employed bar codes, that currency of the cyber world, as the fractal building block, as the "travertine" of his own mental "Getty Center," if you will.

In the case of Bar Code Jesus, Blake took the text of Revelation, converted the words to bar codes, and then engineered a portrait of Jesus out of the bar codes. In Ecstasy Self-portrait, Blake creates his own image from a density map of ecstasy pills as found, of course, on a site on the ubiquitous World Wide Web. In this instance the source is, an organization that does drug testing. Dancesafe posts the results and a picture of the pill on their website. When viewing the detail image of Blake’s work, you may notice that some of the corporate logos that adorn the various Ecstasy pills in Blake’s self-portrait are sharper than others. This is because, partway through Blake’s work, Dancesafe got a newer, sharper digital camera. The artifacts of this artifact can be seen in the textural variations of the piece.

Even as so many of us are born, live out our lives and die, still debating whether painting is dead or not, Blake has moved not only past ground plants and minerals in oil and acrylic matrices, but indeed beyond even the notion of art as some physical object. For Blake, art is, what clearly it always was, an idea.

Printed in Body-Mined Show catalog, January 2003
Brandon Native Turns Barcodes into Works of Art
on TBO News website
by Rod Carter
Tampa, Florida
June 2010
Omahan Creates Bar Code Art
on WOWT News website
by Brian Mastre
Omaha, Nebraska
September 2009
Scott Blake Interview
on Dixonfoma Website
by Dixon Cordell
April 2009
Amazing portraits of Elvis and Madonna made entirely from bar codes
in Daily Mail Newspaper
by Gavin Bernard
United Kingdom
May 2008
Scott Blake: Behind Bars
in Swindle Magazine
by Jason Filipow & Anne Keehan
Los Angeles, California
March 2007
Interview with Scott Blake
on Soul Coffee Website
by Geoff Pitchford
August 2005
Interview with Scott Blake
on FryCookOnVenus website
by FryCookOnVenus
September 2004
The Fine Art of Bar Codes
in The Reader Newspaper
by Jeremy Schnitker
Omaha, Nebraska
February 2004
Creating art one pixel at a time
in The District Newspaper
by Craig Oelrich
Savannah, Georgia
March 2003
Macro/micro, subversion, and celebration
by Alessandro Imperato
Savannah, Georgia
October 2002
Ecstasy Self Portrait Q & A
by Bonnie Molins
August 2002
Original Artist Statement and FAQ
May 2001
Barcode artist Scott Blake digitizes human expressions
on Silicon Prairie News website
by Andrea Ciurej
Omaha, Nebraska
May 2010
Omaha Barcode Artist Scans Famous, Infamous Faces
on KETV News website
by John Oakey
Omaha, Nebraska
October 2009
Black is Beautiful
in Lowdown Magazine
by Sven Fortmann
August 2008
You're not special
on DocHoloday website
by DocHoloday
August 2007
Get acquainted, Scott Blake
in Inbox Magazine
by Andrey Oaheeb
February 2006
Madonna Portraits Q & A
August 2005
Bring Your Bar Codes
in Art Papers Magazine
by Kent Wolgamott
May 2005
Email from "Jesus"
September 2004
Finding Form in Bar-Code Function
on TechTV Live
by Andy Jordan
San Francisco, California
October 2003
The Body-Mined Show Catalog
by Glenn Zucman
Long Beach, California
January 2003
Abrstraction, "Capitalist Realist",
and the system

by Alessandro Imperato
Savannah, Georgia
November 2002
Enrayer le code
in Etapes Graphiques Magazine
by Vanina Pinter
July 2002
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