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  • Tuesday-Wednesday: Closed
  • Thursday: 10am-5pm
  • Friday: 10am-7pm
  • Saturday: 10am-5pm
  • Sunday: 10am-5pm

1606 Paseo de Peralta
Santa Fe, NM 87501


Jim Campbell

Quantizing Effects: The Liminal Art of Jim Campbell

Jim Campbell utilizes custom-made electronics to create conceptual works that explore the relationships between perception, information, and knowledge. Campbell, a practicing hardware engineer with a degree from MIT, uses the language of new media the way “any artist does with his or her medium,” says curator Steve Dietz in his catalogue essay accompanying the show. “He uses it to transform the base materials into transformative experiences.”

This major exhibition surveys the sophistication and range of Campbell’s recent projects and includes the important seminal pieces Portrait of My Father and Photo of my Mother from the mid-1990s; works from the Ambiguous Icons (2000-2001) and Motion and Rest series (2002) (low resolution LED works exploring the limits of the Analog–Digital divide); and a new piece, funded by the Langlois Foundation for Art, Science, and Technology, Montreal, Canada.

Campbell uses the computer as a “connection machine” to power works that play on viewers’ perceptual experiences. From the building blocks of numbers, text, sound, still images, moving images, etc., Campbell uses algorithms and other mathematical constructs to create art that intentionally pushes the threshold of sensory perception. Dietz says in his catalogue essay: “The more discrete bits of information—pixels—the more a picture will seem “normal” (analog, continuous tone). Campbell, however, is interested not in ever greater realism, but precisely in that threshold at which something besides chaos—or “noise” in information theory—is perceptible.” These “liminal” transformations, between analog and digital, between perception and illegibility, are at the heart of his work.

Campbell says: “Having always been fascinated with the philosophical analogies of certain scientific disciplines, my work has been very influenced by science, in particular some of the ideas relating to chaos and quantum mechanics. Using technological tools and scientific models as metaphors for memory and illusion, my work seeks to interpret, represent and mirror psychological states and processes, and their breakdown. Time and memory, individual and collective, electronic and real are the elements of my work.”

Born in Chicago in 1956, Campbell lives and works in San Francisco. He holds Bachelor of Science degrees in Mathematics and Electrical Engineering. He has shown internationally and throughout North America in institutions such as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Carpenter Center, Harvard University; The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; The Power Plant, Toronto; the International Center for Photography, New York; and the Nagoya City Art Museum, Nagoya, Japan. His work is included in the collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Berkeley Art Museum, University of California at Berkeley; The Metropolitan Museum of Art; and the Whitney Museum of American Art. In 1992 he created one of the first permanent and public interactive video artworks in the U.S. in Phoenix, Arizona.

Quantizing Effects: The Liminal Art of Jim Campbell is organized by SITE Santa Fe in collaboration with the MATRIX Program of the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum. A fully illustrated catalogue with an essay by independent curator Steve Dietz will accompany the exhibition that also travels to the Beall Center for Art and Technology, University of California, Irvine (9–12/06) and Museum of Glass, Tacoma, WA (3–7/06).

Artist Bios

Jim Campbell