An image of a webbed structure.

Christopher Nickel

Graduate Fellowships, 2015 - 2016
Stanford University

Artist Statement

I am curious about contemporary information and communications technologies. I wonder about the Internet and cell phone networks—not what happens on the screens of our devices, but how they connect to one another. I am searching for the pathways through which information travels, for the forms and structures that enable us to connect across the globe at near instantaneous speed. I aim to make visible the body of the Internet, this material manifestation of immaterial systems, where the virtual intersects with the physical. I am trained as a photographer but make use of many approaches and materials, including video, drawing, sculpture, and installation. Often beginning with research, my artistic process is frequently led by intuition, and always involves a lot of looking.

Whatever the subject, I aim to show people something they haven’t seen before, or something they have seen many times from a perspective they have never considered.

While at Headlands

There is much to be done: research, looking, thinking, making. How is our investment in virtual technologies being reflected in the physical world? What are the histories of these technologies, and how are they manifest in the present? Most importantly, how do I make representations that can begin to hint at some of this? These questions, among others, act as the starting point for my continued investigation into the infrastructures of contemporary communications technologies. In my time at the Headlands, I will be exploring the grounds as a source of inspiration while I work in the studio on finding new ways of looking at these systems, creating artworks as a product of this process.