ILLUMINATE SF

ILLUMINATED AVERAGES

Jim Campbell (2002)
Installed: May 14, 2016 - September 18, 2016
Yerba Buena: 151 Third Street, SFMOMA

Defying classic Hollywood narrative structure, Alfred Hitchcock’s psychological thriller Psycho (1960) provoked intense audience reactions at the time of its release, becoming one of the most analyzed films of all time with theorists and critics deconstructing it shot by shot. During the exhibition of Illuminated Averages #1 (Hitchcock’s “Psycho”) at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), viewers experienced a single image that contained all of the film's visual data. Jim Campbell had scanned every single frame of Hitchcock's film, and placed all of the frames on top of each other. This single image of Psycho averaged the brightness and contrast values of every frame, while the digital modulation of the movie’s visual data created a ghostly effect, bearing traces of the film’s settings.

Artist: Jim Campbell plumbs the human ability to interpret information and "fill in the gaps" necessary to create a complete idea. His exploration of the distinction between the analogue world and its digital representation metaphorically parallels the difference between poetic understanding versus the mathematics of data. While Campbell's works typically use flat grids of evenly spaced LEDs, he has recently begun to "pull apart" two-dimensional imagery, presenting it in a three-dimensional format. A recent outdoor installation, Scattered Light, in New York's Madison Square Park, and Exploded Views (4 Films), a commission for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, exemplify this new direction.