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... [three dots]

Why?

The more I think about it the more I realise I am becoming interested in pure space. In all its forms. Non-authoritative, non-hierarchical and non-linear.

The three pieces I've made for the Guardian Newspaper are holes, places that we fall through into different kinds of other space, an intellectual territory where ideas (about form or colour or language) can be played with (moving pieces of paper around just to see what it looks like).

The title of this piece is ... [three dots]. The full stops, the electronic marks I'm typing on this screen, represent the three holes that make up this piece.

The holes that the reader falls through.

Each piece is a window (in www terms a portal) but these windows don't necessarily need to be accessed by computer. They can be created by the most primitive means, a hole in the page, a fold or a mat for kneeling on.

The works are constellation maps that fold up into the space of a newspaper page, a vast impossible universe of ideas and objects reduced in size and scale to fit onto newsprint. But like all maps they fold out again, into different kinds of territory, this time into virtual space. The www links on the newspaper page expanding out onto the computer screen, into colour, into linkable forms, into online essays, each time taking the viewer on an unexpected and unpredictable journey.

The closest analogy would be to origami, the works folding down like a paper flower. But imagine, once made, the flower opened out again, back to its original form, the single sheet. The creases and lines of the folds now clearly visible on the paper.

These marks and scores are built into the pieces as pathways that lead the viewer in and out of the work.

The prints themselves act like technical drawings i.e. they represent a plastic space between the conceptual and the actual. There's a sense that the electronic drawings left here will eventually be realised as objects but for the moment they're held in a kind of sympathetic instability on the page.

Like engineering blueprints, patterns, architectural plans.

These synthetic structures are primitive forms. They are atomic and axiomatic, hieroglyphs - messages scrawled in the electronic cave and necessarily resist reduction. But it's the contradictory impulses of these geometric forms that give the work much of its complexity and life.

The next stage is to build some of the shapes in neon or to slide project them onto the surface of a building, maintaining their plasticity by casting them in electricity or in light.

And it's here in the liquidity of objects that these forms belong.

Point a microphone out into the night sky towards the modern city with its fast food outlets, cars and high rise blocks, the lights coming on one by one. Record the sounds and objects that you hear, now and for fifty years into the future. In an unassuming way, these pieces are a collection of some of the sounds and shapes that you are likely to find on your digital tape.

Just a record of things heard.

... [three dots] is outputted on 45g newsprint. CMYK colours 100 59 3.14 24 (blue), 1.18 96.08 91.37 0 (red) and 50.2 34.9 98.82 19.61 (green). The gifs archived on the Guardian Unlimited site are each 1700 x 2128 pixels, exactly twice the size of the print versions.

Thanks to everyone at the Guardian, especially Jo Confino, to Rohini Malik Okon at iniva and Arts 2000.

Michael Atavar March 2001

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