Artie Vierkant

Image Objects

Rhizome Commissions Cycle Proposal, 2011-2012

Summary     //

Today the work of art lies equally in the version of the object one would encounter at a gallery or museum, the images and other representations disseminated through the Internet and print publications, bootleg images of the object or its representations, and variations on any of these as edited and recontextualized by any other author.

Image Objects is part of an ongoing thread in my practice examining our relationship to images in a vastly networked society. I am interested in employing this plasticity and the sheer amount of potential venues for image dissemination as aesthetic strategies within my work.

As such, Image Objects takes as inspiration the variety of techniques alotted to the claiming of authorship, curatorial intent, and authenticity that persist in culture despite our ability to create any conceivable amount of copies and variations of any image or object imaginable. This includes things such as Digital Fingerprinting, which exists to sustain the market value of authorized copies of an image either by making it possible to identify the source of dissemination or by making the content identifiable by algorithm for the purposes of removal or litigation.


Project Description     //

Image Objects will begin as a set of works which exist ontologically somewhere between physical sculptures and augmented documentation images. The initial series will comprise somewhere between 12 and 15 large format digital prints mounted to CNC-cut MDF. Each piece of cut MDF will be matched with a print conforming to the same shape, adding a "layer" or "skin" over the physical substrate to create a unified object. This will be procedurally and aesthetically similar to an earlier work, RGB Icon (see below).

However, each time the pieces are documented officially (i.e., by myself or by a gallery), any released documentation will be edited first to create a new form which does not accurately represent the physical sculpture.

Below is a formal example, using RGB Icon:

left: RGB Icon, digital print on CNC routed MDF (2010)
right: RGB Icon Variation, (2011)

On the left is RGB Icon as a viewer would see it exhibited in physical space; the image on the right would, in the case of this new series, be the only documentation made officially available. Straightforward photographs of the work would be hidden from public view and only used as a starting point for generating new iterations of the image.

In addition, every time the documentation is sent or posted to a new source a new version will be made--a distinct version for a gallery's website, my artist portfolio website, my artist portfolio blog, when images are requested of me to be sent, &c. This is based in some small part on practices in film and other entertainment industries: for example, when a film distributor sends a screener copy of a film to a critic or festival, that screener will often bear a unique Digital Fingerprint or Watermark so that the source of a leak may be traced.

Image Objects also addresses, in both a practical and taunting means, the status of the digital object within the art context and as a commodity. By barring the physical sculpture from straight documentation, widespread concerns are alleviated about disseminated images of an art object reducing its market value. Further, the altered images which are ultimately disseminated are both a part of each work and works in their own right, able to themselves be commodified in the form of prints.


Artie Vierkant

3768 Marlborough Ave. // San Diego CA 92105


Budget, Timeline & Releases     //

It is not expected that a Rhizome Commission could cover all expenses. Other funding sources can be sought or the project can be completed at a different scale.


13 - 27 May 2011 - Solo show at Reference Gallery in Richmond VA titled Image Objects (sculptures will be completed by this date regardless of the timing of funding decisions)

16 May 2011 - First variations posted: different versions for Reference Gallery website and Reference Gallery Blog

June (early) 2011 - New variations posted to,

June (late) 2011 - New variations produced for, an Internet publication by PWR Paper founders Hanna Terese and Rasmus Svensson

August (late) or September (early) 2011 - Release of limited edition Artist Book (150 copies) containing a large set of new unique variations, including images combining multiple sculptures into forms which could not physically exist

November 2011 - PDF scan of Artist Book, each page edited in a similar fashion to create new forms, is released into circulation on the Internet

and set to continue



3/4 x 49 x 97 Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF),
15 sheets at $30.57 ea.
Printing costs (estimated $70 / piece)
Mounting, adhesives, &c.
New domain registration
Limited edition Artist Book w/ unique variations,
150 copies at $10.90 ea.
Artist Fee


CV     //

Download here (PDF)


Previous Work Samples     //

1 - Untitled Videos

Untitled Videos, C-prints exposed by projected YouTube videos, 2011

Left to right: FASTEST 32oz SHOTGUN CHUG IN 6 SECONDS GRAPE CORE HIGH GRAVITY “EL JEFE”, 36 Seconds, C-print, 20 in. x 30 in. x 36 seconds, 2011 // 9 SECONDS ON YOUTUBE, 9 Seconds, C-print, 20 in. x 30 in. x 9 seconds, 2011 // DON’T VLOG AND DRIVE, 12 Seconds, C-print, 20 in. x 30 in. x 12 seconds

Images as disseminated on the Internet:



2 - Histogram Sculptures

left: Fluorescent On Fluorescent Off, styrofoam, histogram curves from video stills, autoexposure (2010);
right: Copy, styrofoam, histogram curves from video stills, autoexposure, user interface overlay, color digital fingerprint (2011)
below: Monochrome Arc, styrofoam, histogram curves from video stills, autoexposure, color digital fingerprint (2010)


3 - Daylight / Twilight

Daylight / Twilight
, HD video diptych, 2 hr. 05 min. (2010)
The films Daylight (1996) and Twilight (2008) rearranged frame by frame based on each frame’s brightness value.  Daylight runs brightest to darkest while Twilight runs darkest to brightest.

Daylight / Twilight is archived in full in UbuWeb's Film / Video Archive here

below: installation view (with Fluorescent On Fluorescent Off)



4 - Real Proper

Real Proper
, HD Video, 1 hr. 58 min.

The following text is an excerpt from Lev Manovich's 2011 article "Understanding Scanalation":

"Real Proper by artist Artie Vierkant perfectly illustrates this circulation of media in the early 21st century. This two-hour long video consists of four different versions of the same commercial film. The artist explains:

Each version stems from a single release, a leaked unfinished copy of the film X-Men Origins: Wolverine, illegally uploaded to the Internet in 2009. The "Wolverine Workprint" spawned countless copies, re-encoded and re-distributed by many users to fit different formatting conventions, including the addition of subtitles, altered aspect ratios, altered running times, etc. 38 unique versions of the workprint still exist on various file-sharing platforms more than a year later, despite the availability of "true" copies released to file-sharing networks after the availability of the completed film and officially licensed DVDs. (Artie Vierkant, email to Lev Manovich, 12/10/2010.)

The artist named his video “Real Proper” after the tag “proper” used to describe some of the movie files on BitTorrent. In the text accompanying the exhibition that included this video, he quotes the text by Abhishek Kunal, which describes this tag as follows:

Due to scene rules, whoever releases the first Telesync has won that race (for example). But if the quality of that release is fairly poor, if another group has another telesync (or the same source in higher quality) then the tag PROPER is added to the folder to avoid being duped. PROPER is the most subjective tag in the scene, and a lot of people will argue whether the PROPER is better than the original release.” (Abhishek Kunal, All About Movie in torrent Tags,” uploaded to 09/12/2010.)

It is relevant to note that Kunal’s text defines a vocabulary of 30 different tags. This number alone hints at the richness of the BitTorrent scene for unofficial film versions. Here are few additional examples of these tags. CAM is “a theater rip usually done with a digital video camera.” Telesync indicates “the same spec as CAM except it uses an external audio source (most likely an audio jack in the chair for hard of hearing people”) Workprint is “a copy of the film that has not been finished.” The tag Repack is used when “a group releases a bad rip, they will release a Repack which will fix the problems.” These examples illustrate that cultures of unofficial versions are not a simple “copy and paste,” but instead have their own social dynamics, their own methods of production, and their own forms of creativity that - as this article will show using the example of scanlation - go beyond the simple competition to release copies of commercial media files before they become officially available"


5 - Solvent Studies

left: Solvent Study – B/W Gradient Down, Digital print, acetone, .PSD, 72 x 48 in (2010)
right: Solvent Study – CM Reverse, Digital print, acetone, HD video, .PSD, 70 x 30 in., 4 min. 5 sec. (2010)
below: Solvent Study – GBIV Drip, Digital print, xylene, HD video, .PSD, 72 x 48 in., 5 min. (2010)