Cherry Fivers Photography



I was a teenager in the 90s, and growing up in that era paralleled the rapid takeover of computers invading every aspect of our lives. I had a UNIX email account and used it to communicate with global pen pals before most people even knew what America Online was, let alone before AOL started shipping CD-ROMs in people's junk (snail) mail. Alongside this joint adolescence of mine and the early internet, my artistic interests became heavily influenced by the idea of media overload and the exponential drive of "old technology" into obsolescence. We were hot off the heels of CDs killing the audio cassette, just as DVDs were beginning to kill the VHS tape. Cameras were soon going to be "digital" and Kodak would be out of business. Everything relating to the future seemed to be based on some kind of hollow promise alleging "quality" that couldn't be attained with yesterday's tech. Bitrates, resolutions, and megapixels.

Somewhere in the throws of all that, I was planning to go to art school, and my art at the time reflected feelings of chaos, disjointedness, and things that should have generally been lovely and serene, but were otherwise, in many minor ways, slightly unsettling. I was fascinated by artists that could paint a proverbial picture of normalcy, but in subtle ways, suggest a sense of not-quite-rightness. Most of my inspirations came from artists that were mixing traditional media with computer alterations, but emulating such styles was nearly impossible for me at the time. The internet had barely been born, and Adobe Photoshop didn't exactly come pre-loaded on the family PC. All I could really do was gather ideas and save them for another time.

Now, twenty five years later, I created these images. The world is now more of a hyper-connected place than any of us could have imagined. My social life exists primarily on cloud-based platforms, and today I can run Adobe Photoshop on my cell phone, which has more computing power than any of my first three PCs... Combined. While creating these pictures, I couldn't help but think back to that decade spanning 1990 to 2000; to think of all that has changed; and to think how hard it would be to travel back in time and try to explain the curiosities of the present to my younger self. Modern day technology, society, and politics. That scenario... that entanglement... that feeling of trying to translate one time and place to an unknown, unrelateable other, is lost in the noise. It's all lost in the glitches.

Footnotes: Additional images from this series can be viewed in this gallery.