Jeremiah Johnson aka Nullsleep (www.nullsleep.com) is a computer musician and artist whose work embraces the politics of appropriation, leveraged limitations, and destructive process in service of a post-cyberpunk aesthetic. He is currently a resident researcher at New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program, founder of the 8bitpeoples low-tech art collective, and co-curator of the ongoing Blip Festival events.
Nullsleep (USA), Data Spills – Kindom, 2009, modified game cartridge, Nintendo Nes,
Projector (courtesy of Fabio Paris Art Gallery)
Inspired by the slash paintings of Lucio Fontana – Data Spills explores the aesthetic transformations that occur when video game software is cut, spilling program logic into the representational layer. Fontana’s paintings gave the flat surface of the canvas a third dimension, allowing the background to enter into the foreground. Software, and video games specifically, may be viewed in layers as well, with data structures governing the mechanics, interaction, and flow of the game world in the background and the front-facing graphics that represent that world to the player. But code does not tear like a canvas, rather it breaks in its own visually unique way. Through a process of incremental manipulation, ruptures in the representational layer of these games were created, allowing program logic to bleed out into the screen space. The resulting works maintain their original interactive component while presenting a broken world, at times navigable only through pure pattern recognition.
Nullsleep (USA), bbb chr BOX, 2010, laser-cut cardboard, six-piece polyptych.
(courtesy of Fabio Paris Art Gallery)
BBB CHR BOX consists of five panels displaying corrupt graphics data from an unlicensed Nintendo game titled Bubble Bath Babes, and a sixth which acts as the base. On a television, these images were cut into the phosphor of the screen with an electron gun, here they are made tangible through a similar process: the damaged game graphics being laser-cut into sheets of cardboard. The choice of material and presentation references a culture of cheap, mass-produced, flat-pack designer objects.