Jim Campbell was born in Chicago in 1956 and lives in San Francisco. He received degrees in Mathematics and Engineering from MIT in 1978. He transitioned from filmmaking to interactive video installations in the mid 1980s. His custom electronic sculptures and installations have made him a leading figure in the use of computer technology as an art form.
Campbell's work is unique in that his media and message are inseparable. He uses technologies developed for information transfer and storage to explore human perception and memory.
His recent work involves pixilated representations created with grids of L.E.D.s, which have such low perceived resolution as to defy comprehension. Exploring the line between representation and abstraction, Campbell plumbs the human ability to interpret information and "fill in the gaps" necessary to create a complete idea. His exploration of the distinction between the analogue world and its digital representation metaphorically parallels the difference between poetic understanding or "knowledge" versus the mathematics of "data."
While Campbell's works typically use flat grids of evenly spaced L.E.D.s, he has recently begun to "pull apart" two-dimensional imagery, presenting it in a three-dimensional format. A recent outdoor installation, Scattered Light, in New York's Madison Square Park, and a commission for the atrium lobby of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Exploded Views (4 Films), exemplify this new direction.
"Exploded View (Birds)," 2010 1152 LEDs, custom electronics, wire, steel 44.5 x 62.75 x 36.75 inches