Bill Schahfer

Artist’s Statement

For the most part I’m self-taught in photography. At Wayne State I majored in Computer Science, before there was such a thing as a Personal Computer. But my Liberal Arts degree served me well by exposing me to a broad range of topics, along the way teaching me to think in an open-minded yet critical way. My degree taught me to recognize and appreciate beauty in its many forms. It also taught me how to learn.

So my chosen career has been in software development. Now, I’ve come to see software as the ultimate abstraction. Every computer program, regardless of its function is, in its simplest form, a very long sequence of zeros and ones. One particular sequence may help you file your tax returns; another sequence may connect you to the internet; another may participate in bitcoin mining. But in the end, it’s all about zeros and ones, in, of course, the right order for the job.

So software developers work in a constant, total state of abstraction. In their minds their programs come to life, interact, ask each other questions, provide each other answers, do stuff, make mistakes, all at unfathomable speed. And when the workday is done, and the laptop is shutdown, these strange, barren, idiomatic universes simply vanish until the next workday, when they’re reborn, hopefully with less mistakes.

And that’s why I love making art. You can create something, set it aside, and come back to it and it’s still there. You can see it, hear it, feel it, taste it, smell it. It re-grounds me, puts me back in touch with the people, places and experiences that are important to me. Sort of an aid to re-entry into real life, the one that matters.

Some day I may try to create art from the ephemeral universes that occupy my mind while I develop software. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy my attempts to convey the things that are important to me in the real world.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *