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Technology was supposed to save us and set us free. But it hasn’t. There are no flying cars or cooking robots or passenger rockets to Mars. Instead we have tablets, phones, websites, networks, e-books, logins, and passwords. The stuff we have is not memories or hopes; it is information. Life is scattered, the art world is scattered, and everything needs organizing.
I was driven to create this work because of the continued scattering of everything; I found that as I examined the work I was making, I had many ideas going in too many directions. The course my new work has taken leaves behind the tradition of photography as simply an image within a frame and instead categorizes separate ideas within an overarching bureaucratic structure. The new work examines the construction of a system of categories, ideas, and concepts, which leaves viewers examining the structure of not just my individual images, but that of the gallery or art world as a whole.
My work has always been a vehicle for addressing the fiction within specific truths and the blurry line between reality and simulation. Photography allowed me to use the camera as a tool to depict an external reality, and through editing images I was able to dissect the fictions associated with the medium.
Now the fiction/reality dichotomy is myself. I am both an artist and bureaucrat. I am both a creator and a conformer. I am both centered and scattered. This work lies in that gray area between those opposing forces.
Michael Sell holds a BFA in studio art from Adrian College and an MFA in photography from Kendall College of Art and Design. He is a member of the Society for Photographic Education and the Popular Culture Association and has presented research at conferences in Chicago, Portland, and Washington, D.C. His research areas include memetics, media-centric imagery, and the digital/analog aesthetic, and his photography has been exhibited throughout the Pacific Northwest, Los Angeles, New York, and Tallinn, Estonia.