Conor Peterson


Hi. I wrote the following statement in 2014, addressing a particular kind of audience whom I believed needed to read about art in a particular kind of way. Years later some parts make me wince. I would never lead a statement with “I am interested in...” now. The continental namedrop alone ought to banish it from this website. But it does capture much of my early thinking about the artwork I make, so it gets a reprieve. For now. But I can only reproduce it in a very light, self-effacing gray.

I am interested in the hyperreal, in the possibility that the mere image of a thing can be of greater consequence than the thing itself. Few politicians would doubt the power of the symbol to communicate a message, but as Baudrillard helpfully pointed out, the symbol is often found floating weightless through space, totally detached from any fundamental reality. To that end I like to think of my sculptural work holographically, as though it is the outward projection of the interference zone between competing images and references, physical instances of concepts that were hardly more than simulations in the first place.

A great deal of science fiction during the latter half of the 20th century exhibits similar symbolic weightlessness, with sets constructed around equipment racks designed after publicity photos from high-tech national labs, while actual defense institutions closed the loop by commissioning supercomputers and other machines that were designed to resemble science fiction films.

I fashion my work after this powerful modernist vortex but employ absurdity as a foil to question the end-goal of the technology itself. However, I am simultaneously committed to the authenticity of my simulations and employ contemporary methods of fabrication to ensure that what appears to be real is in fact real — to whatever extent it can be.