Jon Thomson and Alison Craighead work across video, sound, sculpture, installation and online space, using technology as a means to reformulate fundamental human questions for contemporary times. Through sensitive appropriation of images, texts, and data from online sources, the artists produce generous, lyrical works that both exercise the dramatic conventions of cinema and examine the changing socio-political structures of the Information Age. In their works, time is treated with a sculptor’s mentality, as a pliable quantity that can be moulded and remodelled.
The duo create generative visual and musical systems that employ chance operations as a means to cut loose from the confines of traditional narrative, re-contextualising the familiar to allow for new readings of known structures and situations. These works mimic the fragmented frameworks of global communication systems while also exploring the implications of these systems on human relations to time and space. For Thomson & Craighead, the spectre of humanity is always present in the machine, even as a disappearance. The pair expose the concealed politics of cyber-interaction, giving tactile form to the multitude of anonymous disembodied voices inhabiting the internet. The encounter with these ghosts is what drives the poetics of the artists’ practice: the viewer seeing themselves within the work, their experiences mirrored, reframed, and
Thomson & Craighead apply a diverse range of conceptual tactics, evoking 1960s systems art, 1970s structuralist film-making, the intellectual rigour of early Minimalism, and the compositional constraints of the influential Oulipo literature group. This intentional shifting of form and approach is vital to Thomson & Craighead’s practice; art-making as a scavenger hunt for meaning in a landscape of constant change, or as Italo Calvino said, “A classic is a book that has never finished saying what it has to say.”
Thomson & Craighead have shown extensively at galleries, film festivals and for site-specific commissions in the UK and internationally. Venues include: the British Film Institute, London; SPACE, London; FACT, Liverpool; DCA Dundee Contemporary Arts; H-I-C-A Highland Institute of Contemporary Art, Dalcrombie, Scotland; bitforms, New York; New Museum, New York; and the Berkeley Art Museum, California.