Andrew Scott: Middle Passage

  • ©1996, Andrew Scott



    Middle Passage


Creation Year:



Artist Statement:

    The notions of process, creative exploration, realization of form, and how we bridge the gap between objects created in the virtual environment and the real world are issues that I address in my work as an artist using computers. My artwork serves as a bridge through which I can reconcile and com­municate collective cultural ideals. These ideals are expressed as objects or instal­lations that have relevance and significance on a variety of levels to the society in which they exist. As a result, most of my work is conceptually based. Once a concept has been defined, I seek out and utilize whatever media and means facilitate the realization of my ideas.

    Within the context of my work, computer graphics technologies are used to facilitate the conceptualization of ideas. In this regard, I view myself as an artist who uses computers and not as a computer artist, since the concepts behind the work determine the technologies that are used to bring them into being. Having worked in a wide variety of computer graphics technologies while developing sculptural works that can stand on their own, I have begun to bridge the gap between the object itself and its formative process. Middle Passage exemplifies this approach.

    This is a pivotal work in my development. Thematically, the piece was created in the spirit of “Sankofa,” an Akan word that means “go back and fetch it”. On another level, it embodies the importance of going back to retrieve your past in order to prepare to step into the future, bridging the gap between past, present, and future.

    The Atlantic Ocean provides the impetus for many people’s mythology and history. For African-Americans, the ocean serves as an unmarked grave for six million Africans who died on slave ships traveling from Africa to the Americas. This middle passage marks a brutalizing rite of passage for African-Americans, whose ancestors both survived and perished in their forced journey across the waters.

    Middle Passage is a 9.5-foot steel rendition. It displays a symbiotic relationship between my work in sculpture and computer graphics. Starting as a series of still images and then as an animation short using image-processing software, I began to conceive of it as a sculptural form. Using a paint package, 3D modeling, and image-processing software, I was able to create the model for the finished piece.

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