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Gideon Barnett, Photo: Mỹ Linh Triệu Nguyễn

Q&A featuring Gideon Barnett

Jan 08, 2018 - Gita Cooper-van Ingen



Gideon Barnett is an artist based in Philadelphia, PA. He has received fellowships from the Toby Devan Lewis Foundation and the South Florida Cultural Consortium and has exhibited at Light Work, the Pérez Art Museum Miami, Rosenwald–Wolf Gallery, and others. He is a partner at Studio LHOOQ, and he holds an MFA from Yale University School of Art.



Tell us about your most recent project


I have produced a series of wide format Xerox prints made directly from a microfilm archive titled “The History of Photography” by using a public library and their existing printing and scanning systems as an equivalent to a found studio. The prints are displayed in shallow shadowboxes backed in matte finish green sampled from a university chalkboard.


Show us an example of your recent work

How is your work influenced by or subject to technological changes/advances either online or otherwise?


My work is usually made in response to my environment. As I’ve been doing commercial work (hi image quality, post-processing, sharp files, etc), I’ve simultaneously developed an interest in the character of imaging systems on the other end of the spectrum, like the Xerox, which has limited adjustments (a basic + / – to change contrast and brightness) and microfilm, which has an extremely compressed tonal range. The Xerox is of particular interest because when it was introduced, it represented a major advance in imaging technology, and now it’s become nearly obsolete. To my eye though, it has still has the potential to produce incredibly seductive images.



What is your favourite device/gadget/machine to work with?


Xerox Synergix 8825



Show us an image that’s currently informing your research

Hook device with moveable joints and wires Cheryl Camack Grundy, Sculptor David Didur, Fabricator Peter Grundy, First Assistant Art Director photo: Tom Moore

What role does collaboration play in your work?


I collaborate with Mylinh Trieu Nguyen, a designer, on commercial work at Studio LHOOQ, which sometimes informs aspects of my personal work.


Tell us how you started your current activity in the photographic field

I was in a library researching early aerial photography techniques and came across a manual illustrating proprietary camera mounting systems and the ways in which they interface with aircraft exteriors. The images were amazing partly because of the influence of the archival medium itself. This discovery led to a deeper exploration of that media and the printing and scanning technology typically relegated to the realm of the library/institution.

Share samples of your 10 most recent images or research