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DISAMBIGUATION: FOR A NEW GENERATION Process Book In collaboration with Salomon Arts Compiled & designed by Maximillian Piras Š 2011 Maximillian Piras

“It seems my brain has programmed itself, in a matter of subconcious response, to hit ‘command + Z’ (‘undo’) each time I make a mistake. I find it very concerning, especially when it happens and I’m no where near a computer.”

- Maximillian Piras


Disambiguation: For A New Generation, or its acronym D: FANG for brevity, is a project created by six artists curious enough about the world we live in to try and disect it through art and writing. If form follows function, then how does the function of our reality dictate the form of tomorrow? Is the digital the new real? In a way our world has regained its duality, if Postmodernism has ever fully removed it. Because we live our entire lives around Base-2 Binary systems, whether we acknowledge it or not.That is why, if anybody was wondering, I’ve decided to name every section of this book twice... 4

This process book displays and explains the creation of the D: FANG website,, which was used both as a promotional tool and an art object.


Sketches/Roughs Reference/Inspiration Statements/Concept Restraints/Consistency Integration/Web Art

6-17 18-27 28-33 34-43 44-53


D: FANG / Disambiguation: For A New Generation seemed to be a worthwhile project because it was about ‘digitized culture’, which is quite an easy topic to relate to when you live in a digitized world. It was interesting how problematic this made it to work in any medium that relied on newer technology, such as Photography or Animation. Older mediums seemed to provide some clarity, so the majority of work is painted or drawn. It was interesting to discover that as artists we all did most of our initial thinking away from a computer, as in a hand drawn study was still preferable to a Photoshop one. Could be a sign that the computer is still only a tool instead of a mechanism to live through, or perhaps our brains have not yet evolved to thinking in ones and zeros. 6

PART ONE Sketches/Roughs












There is really no argument against the computer as one of the greatest ‘finishers’ in terms of aesthetic perfection and efficiency. Yet our perception stays the same in seeing it as less humane, undoubtably due to the detached process and the infinite amount of editions possible. Jeremy Fish had an interesting view when he stated that there is a distinction between cheapning work and making it cheaper. Though I’m really not sure which applies here... 18

PART TWO Reference/Inspiration


Gerhard Richter, 4900 Colours:Version II 20

Mark Farrow, album artwork for Pet Shop Boy’s ‘Yes’. 21

Mac System 1 22

iMac G4 23

Pete Fecteau, Dream Big 24

Stefan Sagmeister, Banana Wall 25

Roman Opalka, 1, 2, 3.... 26

iChat conversation with Esteban Jefferson 27

This project revolved mainly around a process of conceptual development, which was then translated into visual works. It was largely academic in that sense, and in a way it is something that we do not fully agree with as none of us are full Conceptual artists. Yet it seemed fitting for such a defined topic to be in a working state of constant definition. I felt that we were, in a way, painting our writing. 28

PART THREE Statements/Concept


Mission Statement

A noticable realistic shift has occured during the past few decades, undeniably due in the latter part to the influence of the internet. This era could be noted as the first time in history humankind has successfully digitized the self. The aftermath of the event has provoked a split from our traditionally defined reality. We must now consider that these newly conceived virtual realities, physically void and still volatile, are undeniably integrating themselves into our commonplace awareness. As artists we are interested in this antagonism, which challenges traditional reality’s belief that physicality cannot be ignored. We are trying to understand where deep immersion into the digital realm may lead us. There is no point to prove, the only goal is to discover new understanding of our contemporary reality and the world it projects. As Andy Warhol once remakred, we are attempting to discover where the artificial ends and the real begins. In hopes of confronting our present time’s ambiguous nature we are thinking towards the future. With the past as our reference point, we’ve created this work for generations to come. It is for those who may only know the work of art as an image on a computer screen and who may paint their masterpiece on a computer program.This show is dedicated to all the originals we are likely to lose to technology, and perhaps all those we will soon gain.


Statement by Jeremy Nakamura

“I have contemplated the issue of “freshness” in dealing with the more traditional mediums. Contemporary cultural relevance is important but difficult to preserve sincerity at all times. In the past few months, I have revisited a mostly figurative approach to painting. I believe that portraiture and all representational work portraying and adulterating the human form will stand the test of time, in regards to freshness, as every individual commands a unique neuro-muscular response (with a tool) to subjects in perceived reality. Even in the advent of high-speed informational trafficking, a firm grasp of visual form will have its place and traditional media will remain integral to humanity. As a humanist, I have recently recognized the importance and preciousness of all types of documentation. In reluctantly keeping up with the mass phenomenon of digitization, this project has helped me to appreciate the possibility of beauty in the borderless realm of abstract virtual space.”

Jeremy Nakamura, detail from H. Rossoff 31

Statement by Maximillian Piras

“Life in the Digital Age somewhat revolves around overzealous anticipation of the next thing to be removed from the physical world and then simuated in the virtual. Because of this my work is, and perhaps will always be, plauged by an overwhelming sense of ambivalence towards new technology. I live through computers and digital cameras, and everytime I try to escape into the natural world I stop to check Facebook on my phone. On my website I no longer list the dimension or medium of my paintings alongside their photograph, as it seems likely that 95% of their viewers will only see them as a pixel based image on a screen. As much as I fear a future where we experience the world by sitting in front of a lightbox, I also acknowledge that the only constant is change. Maybe it’s an acquired taste, as sometimes pixels can be very beautiful.”

Maximillian Piras, detail from Katie (four parts, arrangement undefined) 32

Statement by Jess Chiang

The questions will always be present in the art world; one challenges one’s mind in its deciphering; creating a future, reliving the past through each stroke, presently allowing the canvas to paint you and to live on its own, until, ‘it becomes itself’. One’s mind is often clouded with an overwhelming amount of information, when the canvas is blank, it is the realm into the beginning. All the cacophony becomes congealed into a procession of occurences within a piece. Art is a measurement of the enigmatic, aspiring to find how and what we have already found. Things are taken and left at its origin; the purposelessness... and sometimes we surprise ourselves. Art is masked imminence and when that occurence comes into fruition, we see art’s true form.

Jess Chiang, detail from Torso 33

This problem with a project this relevant is that everything initially sounds like a good idea. It became necessary to set up an assortment of restraints to keep the work relatively consistent. This worked the same for the website, in terms of overcoming the redundancy of designing a website based on the concept of digitized culture, i.e. the influence of the internet. 34

PART FOUR Restraints/Consistency


The Pixel Logo was the first element designed for the project, which then became the basis for the website. It began with a compilation of 13 verticle squares repeated 14 times to construct a larger square, which represented the build up of pixels to create digital images. From the square the letters for ‘D: FANG’ were carved out by eliminating segments of rows and columns.The custom type was designed to be less archaic, to juxtapose the concept of computer culture from its begining to present.

From the desk of

Maximillian Piras.


After resolving the type, the space between pixels was eliminated to increase the visual strength and add subtlety. This idea was then revised to create a second logo that might be more interesting when standing alone. The pixels were emphasized again by systematically alternating the color in equal distributions of CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) to once again reference the base of digital constructions. The CMYK variation of the initial square was then incorporated itself, as the color variations when built ontop of each other could create a number of abstract patterns.



This grid offered a multitude of complexity through even minor alterations.

Eventually images were integrated to simulate the inherent process of production.



The final conceptual addition was the allusion to Apple’s iChat software.

It represented the impersonal communication paradigm of the Digital Age. 41


Each page of the site was designed using these 3 conceptual foundations.

Eventually full images and text were used to represent simulation at full capacity.


The term ‘Web Art’ sounds dangerously kitsch, though it really shouldn’t. It might be some of the most radically Avant-Garde work out there. It might be because we’ve already seen so many shocking and disgusting things online, perhaps we’ve been overstimulated. We did think it would be appropriate to integrate some of our work with the website so that it embodied the concept. This created work that exists somewhere between the virtual and the physical. 44

PART FIVE Integration/Web Art



Designing in the website’s own malfunctions signified its limitations.

Each artist’s photo pixelated when clicked, and eventually encountered an intentional error.


Maximillian Piras’ profile photograph, first state 48

Maximillian Piras’ profile photograph, seventh state 49

Nabi Salomon’s profile photograph, first state 50

Nabi Salomon’s profile photograph, eighth state 51

QR (Quick Response) codes are one of the prominent features pushing digitized culture. In a sense, they bridge the gap between the virtual and the physical.They present transitory gateways to the digital realm, designed to compliment the physical world with the efficiency of the virtual. Jeremy Nakamura has been working on a series of paintings with QR codes embedded, creating art that also scans and links to a chosen website. Unlike many others on a similar path, Nakamura is trying to diminish the recognizibility of the code. As opposed to painting pictures of QR codes, he is attempting to create work that also functions as a code. 52

Jeremy Nakamura, study for scannable paintings 53


Š 2011 Maximillian Piras

D:FANG Process Book  

Display and explanation of the process behind creating D:FANG.