Upfor Gallery, a young new-media gallery in Portland, Oregon, recently organized a small exhibition, “Variable States: Prints Now,” investigating relationships between digital technologies and printmaking. Curator Heather Lee Birdsong selected eight artists from across the United States (including two Portland locals) who inject digital processes into relief, intaglio and screenprinting techniques, and who also extend print processes into sculpture, video and installations.
The exhibition orbited around a table supplied with copies of Paul Soulellis’s Printed Web (2014–ongoing), a collaborative serial project that collects artworks from Internet and digital artists, along with essays by scholars, artists and critics contemplating what the physical embodiment of the Internet might look like. Printed on paper, the Internet’s endless, ever-changing stream of code (or the visible product thereof) is rendered static, bound to a specific context. It manifests the present conditions under which we participate in a hyper-accelerated information-driven society and archive incredible amounts of information. The series can be found online, free to be printed out or saved in digital form, or even edited and printed out in altered form—an embrace of the open-source, uninhibited flow of knowledge and creativity that the Internet makes possible.