Project Space: Sean Ripple

by Sean Ripple

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      Austin-based artist Sean Ripple has been interested in the encryption and translation of information between the real and digital worlds. For this issue’s Artist’s Space, he created an original artwork based on his series of Encrypted Correspondences. To see more work by Sean Ripple, check out his installation Between Jobs, on view at Austin Museum of Art at Laguna Gloria until May 11.

      Talking Through the Archive

      I’ve recently been working on a project where I create ciphers so that I can send encrypted correspondences to various friends and acquaintances. The ciphers all use different informational contexts as source material to communicate in a scrambled fashion. The first cipher I created uses the Scarborough-Phillips Library at St. Edward’s University and has set the tone for subsequent ciphers. For that project, I selected 26 books from the library to correspond to 26 letters of the English alphabet. With my ciphers, the idea is the books, pop songs and soft copy books available on Google books will become the lexicon from which you  pull words to communicate something silly or serious, in your own voice or not.

      For Artist’s Space, inspired by a recent conversation I had with some friends about how teens don’t email any longer and how Facebook has jumped the shark for younger markets, I extended my encrypted correspondence project and created a cipher using ...might be good’s archive to riff on the notion of an invisible culture that uses text and cryptograms as their the primary means of communication—a new underground culture that employs data glut to get at something personal and private.

      The corresponding photos are inspired by a recent business idea a friend of mine mentioned where individuals could pay to have their kid’s whereabouts documented: a social tracking service.

      The first image in the slideshow is of text messages sent during the week of April 18th containing encrypted messages. To see the ...might be good cipher, click here.

      I encourage you to post screenshot images of texts that have been encrypted using the ...mbg cipher to ...mbg’s Facebook wall.

      Sean Ripple is an artist based in Austin, Texas.

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