Aline Smithson (born and lives in Los Angeles, CA) is a visual artist, editor and educator. She has exhibited widely at venues, including the Santa Barbara Art Museum, CA and Griffin Museum of Photography, Winchester, MA as well as the National Portrait Gallery, London and the Shanghai, Lishui and Pingyqo Festivals, China. Her work has been featured in publications including The New York Times, The New Yorker, and PDN. Smithson’s work was twice selected for the Critical Mass Top 50. In 2016, the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, Washington, DC commissioned Smithson to create a series of portraits for the Faces of Our Planet Exhibition. In 2018 and 2019, her work was exhibited in the National Portrait Gallery, London as part of the Taylor Wessing Prize. Her publications include Self & Others: Portrait as Autobiography (The Magenta Foundation, Toronto, Canada), LOST II: Los Angeles, SOLACE and On Death (all Kris Graves Projects, Queens, NY) and Fugue State (Peanut Press). Her books are in the collections of the J. Paul Getty Museum and Museum of Contemporary Art, both Los Angeles; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Guggenheim Museum and The Museum of Modern Art, both New York, NY as well as the National Portrait Gallery, London, among others. Smithson is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Lenscratch, a daily journal on photography.
Statement from the Artist:
“Fugue State Revisited” is an on-going exploration of the future legacies of photographs, with a focus on the life span of digital files. After the loss of a hard drive that held 20 years of analog scans, I received only half the files back in recovery. The rest of the files were corrupted, each totally unique in how the machine damages and reinterprets the pixels. Rather than let the machine have the last word, I have cyanotyped over the damaged analog scans. I use silhouettes of portraits from my archives as a way to conceal and reveal the corruption. By using historical processes to create a physical object, I guarantee that this image will move into the future. This series calls attention to the fact that today’s digital files may not retain their original state, or even exist, in the next century. These are important considerations for our visual futures, as we may be leaving behind photographs that will be reimagined by machines.