David Cotterrell : Reference Frame
Reference Frame
Reference Frame 2003
work in progress

28 March - 11 May 2003

David Cotterrell’s first solo exhibition, Reference Frame, explores themes of approximation and translation in the process of representing behaviour through data.

The exhibition investigates areas of human experience for which the visual language of representation must, to allow comprehension, involve symbolism and acceptance of arbitrary convention.

God’s Eye View consists of three projections exploring facets of the symbolic order imposed on human experience of the world. The work both celebrates and questions the wisdom of attempting prediction.

Enlisting the aid of the Met office and the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, these works offer up the mechanisms employed for the visual mapping of the virtually invisible for consideration. Struck by the inadvertent beauty of systems created to ease understanding of a complex world, Cotterrell here replicates the language of predictive modelling to highlight what is lost (and gained) through the process of translation.

Working with a set of climatic statistics to predict possible future weather systems, isobars continuously create new patterns, metamorphosing the reality of a tornado into an agreeable aesthetic experience. Traffic flow around an urban centre and its inevitable gridlock as more and more vehicles are introduced into the equation mimics video games like SimCity and Populous. Red dots, each representing a human life, dash to and fro: bunching together in ‘desirable’ spaces, leaving others abandoned. These works have an eerie quality reminiscent of science programmes in which we witness the acceleration of the spread of HIV or ebola through a healthy host. We see human choice and naturally occurring patterns reduced to game-like conditions.

The quest for God-like status is brought down to earth by the limitations imposed by humanity’s collective imagination: prediction machines are only capable of replicating identified trends. Our inability to witness all of the convolutions of existence is reduced to an abstraction: a translation or ‘Beginner’s Guide’ to this shared existence. Cotterrell employs the very visual language of meteorologists and spatial analysts to create works that openly question the wisdom of urging the blind sibyl to tell her tale.

David Cotterrell completed a BA (Hons) in Fine Art at Winchester School of Art and went on to receive an MA in combined media from Chelsea School of Art and Design in 1996. Since completing his education, David has been commissioned to produce art for a variety of public locations and has shown in galleries in Tel Aviv, Seoul, Zurich, Bremen and the Czech Republic. His practice is divided between the gallery and the public realm, and the differing demands each project makes on the artist are reflected in his sensitivity to site as both location and subject. Cotterrell’s approach to his artwork is to continually open up new areas of exploration. Recently, he began programming computers to speak with one another in local slang for the public artworks programme dedicated to the regeneration of Glasgow’s Gorbals. His work has also been touring for much of 2002 with the Beck’s Futures exhibition taking different art works to the ICA, the CCA (Glasgow) and the Mappin Gallery, Sheffield. Working with a wide variety of media, from CCTV video cameras to refurbished gambling machines, Cotterrell is reluctant to be pigeonholed as an artist working within a specific media, preferring instead to have the initial inspiration for an artwork dictate the media used to construct the idea.

David Cotterrell wishes to thank the following for their kind help and support: University of Hertfordshire: Adrian Marden, Alan Peacock & Trevor Barker; UCL: Alastair Turner, Bartlett Graduate School; The Met Office: Phil Hopwood; Space Syntax; The ICA, London: Rob Bowman; Bart Tegenbosch.

Installation Views  
God's Eye View   God's Eye View
God's Eye View 2003
computer programmed projections
Reference Frame
Reference Frame
Reference Frame 2003
Mirror, computer, projector, painted wooden boxes, dimensions variable