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t e x t s c a p e

Current Exhibition copy: Welcome

 artist statement 


 t e x t s c a p e  is a meditation on constructed worlds, communication and connection through the gesture of text messaging. Combining ancient and modern-day processes, Scafati creates a multitude of iterations of the ubiquitous smartphone textbox, enlarging and layering its form from its familiar handheld 1-2 inch size to up to several feet. This play on scale shifts its physical relationship to the human form and suggests a metaphor for a greater psychological impact on human experience.


This project is comprised of multiple mixed media artworks - including Triptych (installation of 3 approximate 60-inch-by-90-inch set of archival pigment prints and acrylics); Scroll (50-inch-by-80-feet supreme mesh and ink print); Monolith (2.5-feet-by-8-feet wooden sculpture with speakers); Relief (12.5-feet-by-6.25-feet wood installation); Relic (7-inch-by-37-inch marble installation); Diptych (red room and blue room comprised of acrylics); Panel (site-specific acrylic installations); a jumpsuit (cotton, sumi ink); performances; and iphone-generated content presented on instagram.  The interplay between the artworks and their environments present constructed worlds in flux — at times filtered, layered, or reflective, yet void. When light refracts through the acrylics it casts colors and forms flickering across the white walls of Relief. An air draft makes a dormant acrylic suddenly spin or jitter. Acrylics flicker with disappearing video vignettes of reflections from the environment. Geometrically, the curved textbox edges colorfully contrast the right-angled, monotonous geometry of the cityscape.

For the archival pigment prints (view below), Scafati repeatedly layers hand-drawn, hand-cut, and projected textboxes using sunprint, photogram, and digital processes to create multiple form and color iterations. The acrylics reference lighting gels, camera filters, stage productions;  their transparent, opaque, and mirrored surfaces draw metaphors to fluctuating truths and illusions. Tablet-sized photographs present silhouetted and fragmented views. Intentionally working against smartphone camera technological defaults, and reclaiming freeform and play, Scafati shoots these artworks while manually obscuring the lens with handheld filters and other (non-Photoshop) interventions. These works depart from the textbox icon characterizing the pigment prints and acrylics, and explore the relationship between filters and perception.


As part of this project, Scafati commissioned artist Sean Ripple to collaborate on live and social media-based performances as a way of populating the forms with content. For example, a jumpsuit Scafati designed with the t e x t s c a p e  motif serves as an artifact of performances over a five-month-period during which marks accumulated on it. The audio from Ripple's performances sound through speakers on Scafati's Monolith sculpture, activating an otherwise cold, vacant and looming textbox with bodily sounds such as breathing, chanting, footsteps, whispering, whistling.

 artist video


Susan Scafati: "t e x t s c a p e", Facebook Artist-in-Residence Austin Commission, 2017
Susan’s installation from her body of work titled “ t e x t s c a p e “ is a meditation on constructed worlds, communication and connection through the gesture of text messaging. For this iteration, she invited the FB Austin community to co-create the work, resulting in phrases added to the textbox forms in 11 different languages. Watch this video to see how the interplay between the installation, diverse individuals and the cityscape invites viewers to think about the ways in which everyday forms influence individual and collective behavior. Video by Facebook/June Zandona

 installation views  

selection of archival pigment prints

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