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Yuri Pattison: Focal-Plane

The multi-media artist on his new expo and how digital media is enhancing the artistic world

As a key member of art collectives LuckyPDF and Off Modern, Yuri Pattison has produced some of the most intriguing multi media artworks, creatively merging digital and online visual platforms. In his latest solo show the Dublin born, Goldsmith's art grad has conjured up a series of installations utilising very relevant and recent source material.

The installations includes video footage from the recent Japanese earthquake and the abandoned ruins of the Athens 2004 Olympics, as the artist invites the viewer to observe the impermanence of the digital in contrast to the lasting documentation via traditional artistic methods. The element of time and its constant flux is never far away in Pattison's work and the access to a virtual past invades the knowledge of an expendable present. We spoke to the artist about his latest works and why he believes working in digital is the obvious way forward.

Dazed Digital: How did you come up with the concept for the exhibition? And how did you choose what material to include in this collection of work?
Yuri Pattison:
The exhibition grew out of an ongoing stream of my practice which I've explored and shared on The exhibition itself uses traditional museum display strategies, such as the vitrine, to explore and elevate the impermanence of digital files and images within a stream based practice while drawing ideas and aesthetics together. The current collection of work is a mix of photos and iPhone footage both passively and actively taken, and sorted over the last few months (at Olympic sites from the 2004 Athens Games, in London), along with found footage such as surveys conducted by TEPCO in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster. In general the material chosen is either picked to draw comparisons together as a composition or to explore an overarching sense within what I have chosen to highlight. 

DD: Where has your creative fascination with digital platforms and mediums come from?
Yuri Pattison:
For me this is the most obvious and natural way of working and in some ways the quickest form of expression, especially given that our experience of the world is increasingly a digital one. I believe it makes sense for this exchange of information to be, and remain a two way road. Increasingly our online and digital experiences are stream based and I think this has interesting implications for the directions that time based worked can move in.

DD: How do you think digital media is enhancing art? Do you think this merging of artistic and technological disciplines is vital for art and technology to stay relevant and new?
Yuri Pattison: I think digital media is enhancing the world in general, artists working with digital media are more so implicitly making us aware of this fact whether or not the artists are specifically referencing the medium. 'Contemporary' art has always referenced the present, so it makes sense for it to utilise/incorporate/reference digital media given it's dominance in society. However this causes a new problem where art risks being judged in retrospect on not only it's content, but also the technology used in it's creation or presentation (and the challenges of digital conservation and archiving within an artist's own career).

DD: Tell us about some of the collaborative work you’ve done with LuckyPDF and Off Modern. Are you working on any up and coming projects with either collective?
Yuri Pattison:
Most recently LuckyPDF presented our live TV project at Frieze Art Fair this year followed quickly by a project as part of Word of Mouth curated by KERNEL at the Athens Biennale. We're currently planning 2012 first up is new work for the Samsung Art+ Prize which we've just been nominated for and a very special party with to coincide with the launch of their first physical retrospective in January which I'm looking forward to.

'Focal-plane' by Yuri Patterson, at Son Gallery, Unit 9c, 133 Copeland Road, Peckham, SE15 3SN, 9 December 2011 - 11 February 2012