About Mike Jacobs
Mike Jacobs received his BFA from the University of Cincinnati in 2000. He lived and worked in Cincinnati, Ohio as an artist and Industrial Design Model Technician until 2016. Jacobs later earned his MFA from the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University in 2019. While at ASU Mike was the recipient of grants, awards, and scholarships from the Martin Wong Foundation, Arizona Artists Guild, the Gayle J. Novak & Robert D. Cocke Award in Painting, and the Gerry Grout Visual Arts Scholarship. He has exhibited his work nationally at the FotoFocus Biennial, Cincinnati, OH, the Mesa Art Center, Mesa, AZ, Untitled Art Projects gallery, Los Angeles, CA, the Baton Rouge Gallery Center for Contemporary Art, Baton Rouge, LA, and internationally at the ARTE Galería, Quito, Ecuador. Jacobs is currently based in Phoenix, Arizona.
I grapple with two distinct but parallel lines of thought and aesthetic experimentation. In the first, I examine the affordances that push the limitations of digital technologies to analyze complex, ever-shifting relationships between environment, culture, and technology emerging in the contemporary landscape. In the second, I question the instrumental role of geometries and metrics in shaping cultural, technological, scientific, and artistic understanding of systems, including physiology, ecology, and cybernetics.
I entered into this discourse by considering the increasing speeds of digital information in our collective culture that have resulted in a fragmentation of our analog thought process. To compensate, we are exchanging the limitation of linear streams of understanding information, for the limitless nonlinear web of the virtual network. We of course experience this all the time looking at the internet and searching from one hyperlink to the next, starting as a specific search and ending with as many random associations as you can handle. We continually interface with the operations intrinsic to our smartphones, computers, including the use of programs like photoshop and illustrator. Digital tools connect us to the systems of the virtual that benefit us in creative processes, image capture, accessing knowledge, and supplementing memory.
The implication of this interaction raises many questions and its easy to run off with a dystopian outlook. We have been socialized to be afraid of a future laden with artificial intelligence. The reality is that we as a society are already in the virtual/digital paradigm we were taught to fear. Inspired by these ideas I wanted to reexamine what it means to embrace the interaction of the digital process and the virtual space to develop form and imagery as a counter-intuitive approach to understanding how we might connect and structure our own analog intellect to commune with the external processing of digital systems.