Siebren Versteeg (American, b. 1971) mines online mass media and commercial databases to investigate our image-saturated world, a world in which the real and the virtual have become intertwined. In particular, he employs computer programs that automatically connect to the Internet, browse various images, and deliver them to monitors in the gallery space. “As the nature of the images presented by the work is random, the artist assumes both all and no responsibility for their presence and content,” Versteeg notes.
The flow of images is not entirely random, however: the program chooses the images according to the artist’s instructions, and close viewing will reveal loose narratives. Versteeg’s streams of images recall everyday internet browsing in several ways: the short duration each image is displayed underscores the speed with which we browse; like information gathered on the Internet, the sequences have no real beginning or end; and the combinations of images often yield unexpected associations.
Virtual imagery is not Versteeg’s only source material. Some of his works are directly inspired by earlier seminal art that often commented on social and political issues of its time. In the works shown here, Versteeg references Renaissance altarpieces, Jasper Johns’s Flag paintings, and an early video by Vito Acconci.