For Immediate Release, September 18th, 2002

Free Download

Variablemedia is pleased to announce Free Download by Michelle Deignan and Simon Goodwin. Commencing on the 23rd of September, this new work is an email and web project which will be updated daily for five weeks.

Each day Deignan and Goodwin will email a password protected link to a personalised gift to one address from the Variablemedia emailing list. Addresses will be randomly selected throughout the course of the project so new subscribers to the Variablemedia emailing list will also be in with a chance to receive this unique free gift!

Each gift will be a 800 x 600 pixel colour typographic image utilising what we consider to be the identity portion of the email address. For example would be invited to download a digital image incorporating the name "variablemedia", whilst would find an image file incorporating the name "jane24". The image will be made by creating a digital layout, printing this out and tracing this onto paper. This will then be hand coloured, scanned and saved as a JPEG digital image. The file will be uploaded to the server for the recipient to download. The recipient will be given instructions on setting the image as a desktop picture.

Each day the website will be updated adding a thumbnail image of that day's template. Only the chosen email recipient will be offered the opportunity to view and download the full size final image. The site will indicate whether images have been downloaded by their recipients.

Free Download disrupts the apparently seamless and impersonal nature of the digital image by the use of a non-digital craft in its production. Where mark making signifies the hand of the author, the object's authorship is confused by the handiwork of two people and the subsequent conversion of the images back into a digital format. The definition of the unique art object is undermined; the artists keep the debris of the process, the drawings, and the selected recipients are offered the endlessly reproducible 'artwork'.

By turning their audience into a subject Deignan and Goodwin continue their collaborative project which takes as a starting point the context within which their work exists. This work reflects their experience of managing and co-ordinating the Variablemedia project on-line. Variablemedia's emailing list is made up of subscribers, the emails of friends and acquaintances, culled mails from similar organisation's lists, emails found on art web sites, business cards and flyers. Some recipients of Variablemedia emails may regard them as 'spam'* (junk email). The offering of 'free gifts' is a classic junk mail technique.

Variablemedia was created as an internet space in which artists explore place, process and temporality. Variablemedia is hosting a continuing series of artists' web projects made specifically for the site. Participating artists have been Cliona Harmey and Dennis McNulty followed by Edward Dorrian and Sally Morfill.

*Variablemedia endevour to make it as easy as possible to 'unsubscribe' from their list and are careful to suppress recipient addresses on mailouts to prevent 'harvesting' from their email list.


For further information please contact us
[A Word version of this press release is available on request.]