WEEK 11 –SCREEN TO PRINT II
Taryn Hubbard’s Notes for Browsers reflects on Rauschenberg’s “The White Paintings” (1951) by creating a poem made entirely of white hex colour codes (#FFF) calling it “White Poem” (2014). The F-triplet used to represent colour in digital spaces, typically comprised of a hexadecimal number that further embedded in the interface, which numerically scales shades of red, green and blue. Thinking about the 6-digit shade, it becomes clear that there are millions of numerical combinations possible to create the desired colour.
The White poem’s opening statement “after Robert Rauschenberg” addresses not only it’s inspiration but it’s lineage. By choosing “after” Hubbard opens the viewers need to understand or experience Rauschenberg’s work first. Robert Rauschenberg: An Texas-born artist that is remembered for his revolutionary multimedium works known as “combines”. Notably, his “Monogram” (1959) is assembled with a stuffed angora goat, a tire, a police barrier, the heel of a shoe, a tennis ball, and paint.
Hubbard chooses to use the artist’s name, rather than “The White Paintings”—to which her work is a direct reference too. This could be because Rauschenberg’s direction, as a thinker and creator, is more important his single works. If she had chosen to say “after The White Paintings” instead, “The White Paintings” could be copied into Google Images and referenced aesthetically without any further information. By using his name, the other ideas and objects that circulate his legacy come forth, like when it is more usefule to use broad keyword searches instead of detailed. You want to know more, rather than pinning down the information you already know.
Rauschenberg’s “combines” were meant to interrogate the division between real-life objects and artworks. His work came at a time when the art world itself was being kicked off its high scholarly horse by “Fountain” urinals, and “pop” images. His work questioned the hierarchy of objects— where some were deemed animated or fine in quality, while others were fixed or propper objects not meant for art and without space for interpretation.
Hubbard interrogates our computer-mediated spaces— where the relationship between code and image (or text) has historically been dismissed. Coding could be seen as the ‘white noise’ beneath our digital lives, but what if it could be thought of as just as important as the article it produces? By revealing the vital organs that produce a site’s white screen, or formatted text, there is something alien from what we thought we recognized in our daily digital experiences. If Rauschenberg asks us ‘Do you know these objects?”, I would argue Hubbard is asking us the same thing.