Never Alone: (2013)

An interactive space built in Processing / HTML5

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An interactive space built in Processing / HTML5

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Artist Statement

FULLSCREEN: Never Alone, a work by Derek G. Larson

Written By Drew S. Burk

You’ve stumbled across some sort of back alley entrance to a virtual digital theatre. The digital back lot that makes screen stare-stumblers of us all. There is something overwhelmingly familiar and disorienting in Derek Larson’s piece. Can one call this a sort of virtual actual blueprint? A bizarre querying and memorial reminder of this inter-networked optics within our connected screen culture: a frenzy1 of digital dream space, synchronized and interfacing, blindly projecting a bizarre circus of cybernetic cloud consciousness? It appears artificially grotesque and yet the screen projection interface that Larson has provided is perhaps better named a thought apparatus or collider of the virtual and actual nature of practice between the observer and what is perceived.

If we take Larson’s piece as a kind of non-standard aesthetic2 attempt at distorting the line between art and thought, interrogating the vectorial mechanics of our connection to digital interfaces of the virtual and the actual within the increasing encroachment of our line of sight as we become more and more accustomed to the screen perception of auto-surveillance within social network landscape, then Larson seems to ask or demonstrate a question: how have our perceptions within the bombardment of nano-bot advertising algorithms and machineries become integral to our digital screen moments? And our screen-stare stumbling, our quotidian visual horizon relies more and more on the double-edged concept that is perhaps the center piece of data provided within Larson’s apparatus: Never Alone. As we connect and strengthen our rapports and daily discourse, dialogues, and community through the digital it will be perhaps of the biggest concern to strive to balance the two limits of our relation to the digital, the neon Never Alone. Within the digital as with Larson’s disorienting thought blueprint of the virtual and actual, we have the incredible benefits of having the ability to reach out and connect, help, express, create within the virtual actual of the networks. The piece reminds us of our anatomical relation to the digital as well: nervous system. The system is always so nervous. Our satellitic networked nervous system. Here we find the antipodal limit points of the Never Alone: from one end of the networked openness to the other where the ever increasing auto-surveillance and loss of privacy comes with the built-in compulsion to self track and place everything within a virtual dream neon Frenzy of the telemorphosis3 of reality and the banality of the digital age. What perhaps we can glean best from Larson’s blue-print apparatus is its somehow comforting and disorienting effects of conjuring affects of death and life, and this is a good thing.

William S. Burroughs and Brion Gysin created their infamous dream machine. It apparently could conjure dream sequences with one’s eyes open—projecting them upon the walls of the back of their eyes. A light bulb in the middle of a cylinder and a record player. It somehow tinkered with the brain’s alpha waves, contorted the oscillations. For one to truly enter a dream space, one has to not know the difference between being awake and being asleep. In the hypnagogic state, one enters into a wakeful sleep state. And this leads to me to think of the hypnagogic state of the screen stare-stumblers that we are. Perhaps something subtle and akin to the dream machine is functioning at the quantum level between Burroughs’ dream machine and the thought apparatus Larson has created for us. And then I see Japan and the '80s and Felix Guattari. Why? I’m not sure. But I recall a recent essay I had stumbled upon.

"Is it enough to say that the ancient surfaces of Yin and Yang, the raw and the cooked, analogical iconicity, and ‘digital’ discursivity, still manage to merge opposites? Or, further, that the Japanese brain reconciles its right hemispheres according to specific modalities." 4

Felix Guattari and his thoughts on what he named the machinic eros in regards to Japan’s relation to machinic capitalistic infantile subjectivities. There is something of the machine '80s Japan in this piece and reminds me of the perhaps machinic libidinal compulsion to bring back and re-conjure the '80s taking place within culture again, a return to the birth of the personal computer, the early days as screen stare-stumblers. [1] In the speed of the moment, I type the word, frendzy into a search engine. I look it up to see if it is spelled with a "d" and at first, I don’t even notice that it is spelled wrong (who cares for spelling in the digital sphere, if one can cheat spellcheck, all the better). However, when I typed in "frendzy" into a search engine, I was presented with the information that the French car company, Renault, had created a concept car called Frendzy based on, "the different stages of the human lifecycle…it’s a friendly work-tool. "

[2] See François Laruelle’s work, Photo-Fiction, a Non-Standard Aesthetics.Univocal: Minneapolis, 2012

[3] See Jean Baudrillard’s essay, Telemorphosis, Univocal: Minneapolis, 2012

[4] I thank Canadian cultural theorist, Gary Genosko, for introducing me to Guattari’s interest with Japanese art in the '80s. See Gary Genosko and Tim Adams’ translation of Felix Guattari’s Tokyo, the Proud. - See more at:


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