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Donald Rodney | Autoicon

Exhibition guide relating to an individual, 2000
Published by: inIVA
Year published: 2000

image of Donald Rodney | Autoicon

Announcement and details about AUTOICON (2000) [which takes the form of a CD-ROM and also a web site. This announcement relates to the latter] Consists of a specially printed envelope, the reverse of which contains an invitation to the launch of www.iniva.org/autoicon. Contents of the envelope are a summary of the project and information about navigating the web site.

Details as follows: “AUTOICON is a dynamic internet work that simulates both the physical presence and elements of the creative personality of the artist Donald Rodney who - after initiating the project - died from sickle-cell anaemia in March 1998. The project builds on Donald Rodney’s artistic practice in his later years, when he increasingly began to delegate key roles in the organisation and production of his artwork. Making reference to this working process, AUTOICON is developed by a close group of friends and artists (ironically described as “Donald Rodney plc“) who have acted as an advisory and editorial board in the artist’s absence, and who specified the rules by which the automated aspects of the project operate. AUTOICON is automated by programmed rule-sets and works to continually maintain creative output. Visitors to the site will encounter a “live“ presence through a “body“ of data (which refers to the mass of medical data produced on the human body), be able to engage in simulated dialogue (derived from interviews and memories), and in turn affect an “auto-generative“ montage-machine that assembles images collected from the user’s hard-drive (rather like a sketchbook of ideas in flux). Through AUTOICON, participants generate new work in the spirit of Donald’s art practice; as well as offer a challenge [to] and critique the idea of monolithic creativity. In this way, the project draws attention to current ideas around human-machine assemblages, dis-embodied exchange and deferred authorship - and raises timely questions over digital creativity, ethics and memorial.”

Donald Rodney made considerable use of imagery such as x-ray photography, blood samples, cellculture, and so on, to draw attention not only to his medical condition that was slowly corroding his body, but more importantly as a metaphor to represent the “disease“ of racism that lay at the core of society.

The project is realised by Eddie Chambers, Geoff Cox, Richard Hylton, Virginia Nimarkoh, Mike Phillips, Keith Piper, Gary Stewart, Diane Symons and Sidestream.
AUTOICON is produced by the inistitute of International Visual Arts (inIVA) STAR (Science Technology Arts Research, University of Plymouth) with support from the Arts Council of England. Package also features transparent image relating to Donald Rodney’s work.

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»  Richard Hylton

Born, 1967 in England