Project 8: A different abstraction: I am code (and buy me)

Yesterday’s visit to the hospital reminded me that I am referred to and defined in many diverse ways. By family roles and name, by phone numbers or tax reference numbers, usernames and avatar to name a few.

The hospital’s preferred method is by number. But my medical records also have bar codes on them and my last post on pure abstraction where there is no referent to index, along with yesterdays experience inspired me to take a wander in that direction a little more and ended up with these three images.




The images were created online using a simple bar code creator but the bar codes themselves raised some interesting thoughts about representation in terms of indexality, codes and symbolism. I hope to explore some of these issues during the course but just now want to go back to working on a set that imparts a sense of anger and emotion I feel (and these images don’t do that). In the meantime I found an interesting way another artist had used bar codes.

Scot Blake – see his website here – appeared interesting for a variety of reasons. Firstly he has used bar codes in a variety of ways – as building blogs for portraiture  and as a basis for viewer interaction where the viewer can hold an Ipad over the code to reveal what the code refers to.

But, but but …….

What was most interesting about Scot’s site was just how extensively he approached his use of the website and his product line in Art. Indeed his whole approach reminded me of Frank Rose’s description of the rise of mashups in traditional media that the onset of digitisation and the web created. Programmes were no longer enough and so they had webisodes (little side programmes on the web) and tweeter feeds and all manner of other associated product lines, and this is just what Scot has done. For example, not only does his site offer bar code art but you can buy it and or associated products such as stickers, arm bands and other paraphernalia – see here.  

It seems to me that Scot has taken his site to another level. Video is used extensively, there is a store to buy in artwork in all manner of product forms and lots and lots of art on the site. This has given me a great deal of food for thought about my site and how I should or could develop it.


About Pete

South Londoner struggling with life, art and photography.
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