Stephen’s critical framework all stems from the digital age we all situate in. Interested in the fragmentation of information displayed and viewed through digital and cultural means, such as cinema and media. This is due to the way snippets of digital data are forever circulating on the internet. Using symbols and signs as a way of communicating information, a new language that appears everywhere. Stephen’s palette is built up of digital symbols. Interested in the semiotic weigh of this ‘language ‘and what it means in a ‘post COVID’ world.
Stephen’s practice is informed by contemporary theory, in particular Boris Groys’s “In the Flow” and Walter Benjamin’s “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” and artist’s such as, Trevor Paglen, Hito Steyerl, Philip Colbert, Jenny Holzer and Robert Rauschenberg
Interested in key ideas from Walter Benjamin, in particular his method of distinguishing the difference between the reproduction and original work of art. Walter Benjamin states for something to be authentic, it must contain its genuineness, its ‘here’ and ‘now’ and the relationship it has to its external context; It must have some form place in time, its own site. Inspired further on what Boris Groys states about ‘digitalisation’ being more than the finest method of reproduction. Stephen is interested in ‘digitalisation’ being more than a reproduction. When digital data appears on the computer screen, an act of interpretation is in play by the internet user. Due to this, the data forms its own visual body, thus making it its own thing that cannot be compared to the original. It now has its own place in time.
Stephen creates sculptures and prints from digital fabrications of actual events from the news and media, using ‘Instagram’ as a way of screen grabbing bitesize information. Stephen is interested in different tactics of surveillance, especially in a modern-day ‘Neo Liberal’ society and using consumption as a method of conformity. How the digital realm has become another form of a ‘Panopticon’ through the means of Instagram, Facebook. And the ‘Like’.
His choice of expressing digital ideas through physical methods is to do with the physicality of the material and as a retaliation, a rejection of the digital. It is so easy today to edit, replicate and control what we see and how we see but to him, physical methods provides authenticity, a form of ‘here’ and ‘now’.