Artwork and text by artist Nick Gentry
Everything has a life cycle and with technology there is a relentless push into the unknown for newer, more efficient products. Since their introduction in 1981, billions upon billions of floppy disks have been manufactured and 30 years later production is coming to an end. Despite their previous dominance, physical media objects will eventually become rare artefacts. The floppy disk stands firm and lives on as a metaphor for the increasing pace of the modern life cycle, mass production and the throwaway culture of today.
Reusing objects can negate the need for waste, with a new function that also often has more charm than that of the original. Seeing art produced in this way can encourage a more creative approach to everyday objects that are deemed to be obsolete or useless. What brings the overall concept to life is that blend of the nostalgic and familiar, together with the freshness of a new form of expression.
As information is released from the physical form, it allows personal data and identities to be revealed and permanently shared online to an infinite degree. At the same time, individuality and privacy is now considered to be more precious than ever. It is now common to cultivate a second identity online. Although this online identity can be comprehensive in detail, it is a virtual representation rather than the real thing and is in some way created by the individual. The paintings replicate this process as the disks contain an assortment of historic data, joined together to create a whole new identity.
Humankind is integrating with technology at an exponential rate. This merge has been happening throughout human existence, leading today to a crucial tipping point in the process. The majority of people now own a mobile phone, often carried everywhere. Mobile phones then make the transition to become computers, with endless functions that can be customised to the individual. Currently all this functionality is on a device that is close to, but outside of the body. If this becomes internal it would raise a fundamental question of identity; can a human still be considered to be an entirely organic being?
The paintings seek to simply highlight this new movement, as it becomes increasingly apparent as an important cultural and social transition of our time. Will humans be forever compatible with our own technology?
Nick Gentry is a London-based artist who reuses obsolete media formats of the past, like floppy disks and VHS tapes to create his work. In it, he explores issues of information, identity, and technology. Besides several group exhibitions, he recently had a solo show called “Auto emotion” at Studio55 in London.
www.nickgentry.co.uk | @nickgentryart