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Beth Howe and Clive McCarthy

Our collaborative projects bring together Beth's background in print and drawing with Clive's background in programming and generative media. We try to combine the creative work of coding with the creative work of visual art practices that primarily engage with analog materials like wood, metal, paper, and pigments. Can we make the code ‘real’? Can analog materials be shaped by algorithm?

We have used a CNC milling machine as our tool of translation, repurposing it to follow our work through woodcut printing to drawing and brush painting. We have developed code that transforms our photographic images into aesthetic experiments and then prepares the digital images to be cut into wood to produce woodcut printing plates, or to be drawn with pen or brush onto paper, or scribed into metal to be printed as etchings.

The imagery we are working with is that of the monumental and yet commonplace: bridges, overpasses, boulders, warehouses. In the process of making – coding, cutting, printing, recoding, recutting, reprinting - we watch how translation generates noise. A seamless transfer from one language to another, one file type to another, is unusual. The failures of translation create new possibilities though they rupture a perceived sanctity of the image: moirés, abstractions, fouled plates, overprints, bad code, and a beautiful wobbly line that was not in the code, but perhaps was a ghost in the machine.

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