Duncan Poulton is an artist based between Birmingham and London, UK. His practice is fed by an obsessive gathering of online content into a vast digital archive, which are recombined into still and moving image collages. Made exclusively with found materials, his works address a visual culture of overabundance and ambivalence, exploring the compression of histories and meaning engendered by the internet. He is a hoarder, a selector and combiner who uses the internet as his palette and imagination.
Duncan scours website upon website for lost, ‘poor’ and arbitrary images which have been buried by biased algorithms, in a process he describes as an ‘archaeology of the new’ – a real-time archiving and remediation of our increasingly virtual world. His recent works have explored digital waste, obsolescence and the death of privacy, whilst recurring interests lie in ideas of appropriation, ownership and excess.
His making processes bring the analogue virtues of improvisation, aggression and urgency into the digital production space. Works emerge from ‘material’ processes which use software to play with fidelity, complexity and texture within digital image files: images are crushed and enlarged, erased and duplicated in repetitious cycles. Content sources range from Creative Commons amateur photography, 3D modelling websites, iPhone photos of charity shop books, diagrams and patents, graffiti and found drawings. Once made, his works are manifested physically in different media – on paper, canvas and aluminium as well as being re-versioned to occupy screens, virtual spaces and publications.
His work has recently been exhibited and screened at Ars Electronica; MOSTYN, Llandudno; Coventry Biennial; Art Licks Weekend, London; QUAD, Derby; OUTPOST, Norwich; MIT Museum, Massachusetts; Eastside Projects, Birmingham; arebyte, London; CICA Museum, South Korea; and Transmediale, Berlin. He graduated from the University of Brighton in 2015, and from 2019-2021 he participated in the Syllabus, an alternative learning programme led by Wysing Arts Centre and arts venues across England.
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