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A Few Select Bits of All Knowledge: A Visual Archive

For A Few Select Bits of All Knowledge: A Visual Archive, Nickel mines the image collection of the Internet Archive—an ever-expanding visual database of user generated digital (and digitized) media—for the raw materials to create large-scale scroll-like tableaus. These digital collages of seemingly unrelated images have been filtered through the eclectic categories employed by the Whole Earth Catalog—a publication that acted as compendium and how-to guide for the utopian visions enacted by the self-sufficient back-to-the-land communities of the 1960s and 70s. Visually drawing the two together acknowledges both the active role that the Whole Earth Catalog took in promoting digital networks as the emerging form for self-organizing communities, while also serving as a direct model for our current Internet-based aggregators, searches engines, and the non-hierarchical system the Internet Archive has applied to its multiple repositories as they seek to fulfill their mission of providing “Universal Access to All Knowledge.” In his recent projects, Nickel has focused on the physical presence of the Internet, attempting to recast its virtual, disembodied appearance as a physical object— a single fantastically complex body with mass and material, with a long history of evolution, existing in specific geographic locations. He holds an MFA from Stanford University, a BFA from California College of the Arts, and lives and works in Oakland, CA.