Robert Schefman

Robert Schefman CV 2019

Initially moved by letters, photos and family documents that I discovered while moving my mother from her home, my current work references the constantly changing information formats, the distillation and loss of personal information that is occurring as we move from paper to digital storage of documents and photos..

How can we maintain our personal histories if thoughts and images are incomplete, and we cannot access the information? Will we be able to access family photos stored on a floppy disc, a zip drive, or even a CD, instead of paper documents stored in an attic trunk?  Will generations be able to discover the love letters that opened one heart to another, if they were sent by email?  We transfer information without personal experience through writing, letters, photographs, video and documents, and we progress by an accumulation of this information. Artifacts last beyond generations, what about digital storage?

Who will decide what photographs, letters and documents are important enough to be re-formatted and moved forward through the numerous format changes in our lifetime. When information is processed into nice, easily digestible slogans and sound bites, we often grab only the information that suits our immediate purpose, relying on distilled thoughts and truncated video experience. Knowledge for it’s own sake carries the limitless potential of combining random ideas into new thoughts. Relying on distilled thoughts and truncated video experience raises questions about information reduced and isolated from its context. This is the reference for the recent series, “Collected Knowledge”.

My process begins with a single issue; a starting point to explore tangential issues that increase my scope on a topic. These satellite ideas generate my images.

I have chosen to work through illusionist narrative.  The narrative content continues to feed a fascination with connecting threads in social fabric, the illusionist format uses the unchanging reality of sight to reinforce its continuity.