Software Still Lives

I created a series of still lives using computer hardware to explore the abstract nature of software development.

Software is, in my mind, merely a thing. It’s created by ordinary people, it has form, and an expressive nature of its own.¬†Software can be convoluted, tangled, interdependent; or it can be orderly, rigid, or modular.

However, code isn’t something we can see (or easily draw). It remains obscured to most people who don’t work with it. We rely on visual tropes to describe it: flying green text, men in hoodies, and so on.

I want the viewer of these images to be able to consider software in a more objective way, as a programmer might think of it. ¬†By using hardware in these still lives, I invite the viewer to take a deep, close look at “code”, while also expressing something of its nature.

Debian Server. Charcoal and pastel on paper, 40″x50″.
Connections. Charcoal and pastel on paper, 30″x40″.
Spaghetti code. Charcoal and pastel on paper, 30″x40″.

The first image is a decommissioned Debian server, disassembled up to show its interior: motherboard, power supplies and drives. The second and third images show computer cables, exiting the server in an orderly fashion, and ending in a complex tangle. All three images are lit with a spotlight, inviting the viewer to take a closer look.