Piece from The Body Electric, 2021
And in this sense, just as you do really — although we don’t acknowledge it in our social conventions — you do really beat your heart. You don’t know how you beat it. Nor do you know how you open and close your hand. And yet you say “I know how to open and close my hand and pick up something”. But you don’t really know. Yes you really know, but you don’t know in words how it’s done. You couldn’t explain it in the coding. Words are a form of coding experience. And we can’t possibly put everything in words because there wouldn’t be enough time. For a million years you couldn’t put everything in words, because you’d have to code it all. It would be like trying to drink the Pacific Ocean with a fork. But still, you see, if you do beat your heart, and if you do indeed grow your hair, then you will find out that if that is true, it is also true that you are blowing the wind, and shining the sun, and twinkling the stars in just exactly the same sense that you are beating your heart. -Alan Watts
I approach these works through questions regarding the objecthood of the digital, creating objects and spaces embedded with digital worlds. The digital is perpetually hidden and withdrawn; subterranean. And although it is coded to reach out — to augment and extend the human body — it only caresses the surface of our collective experience. The digital is rooted in an unseen physicality, always mediated and held at a distance. It is constructed of nested physical circuits and components, with their infinitesimally small and invisible switches, vibrating at lightning speed. And while we are unconsciously using these materials all the more deftly and with increasing cultural interpenetration, there is always a remaining surplus in the digital that is never fully exhausted by our looking, nor by our interaction.
Joshua Penrose is an artist living in Columbus. His work has been shown at the Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago, IL; The Carnegie, Covington, KY; COOP Gallery, Nashville, TN; Moudy Art Gallery, Fort Worth, TX; and the Riffe Gallery in Columbus. Penrose works across a variety of digital media including sound, video, light, and digital automation. He holds an MM in Music Composition from Towson University and an MFA in Art and Technology from The Ohio State University. He is the recipient of a 2019 Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award, and in 2021, was a participant in the Greater Columbus Arts Council’s Dresden Artist Residency in Germany.
Visit Joshua Penrose’s website.
Joshua Penrose is a recipient of The Sculpture Center’s Revealed Early Career Exhibition Series.