In his ongoing series of “Compressionism” prints, Nathaniel Stern straps a desktop scanner, computing device and custom battery pack to his body, and perform images into existence. He might scan in straight, long lines across tables, tie the scanner around his neck and swing over flowers, do pogo-like gestures over bricks, or just follow the wind over water lilies in a pond. The dynamism between his body, technology, and the landscape is transformed into beautiful and quirky renderings, which are then produced as archival artworks.
For Rippling Images, he worked with a team to produce a marine-rated scanner rig, including custom hard- and software, and performed a new series of digital works while scuba diving on a live coral reef off the coast of Key Largo in Florida. His goal was an exhibition where site and technology – their limitations, possibilities and potentials – take greater agency in the constitution and construction of printed forms. His movements underwater, his relations to life and gravity, what he sees and cannot see, fish and plants, breathing and fluidity, all affect and are affected in and as these images, being made.
According to Caleb A. Scharf at Scientific American, Stern’s work is “tremendous fun” but also “fascinating” in how it is “investigating the possibilities of human interaction and art.”
Stern earned his PhD at Trinity College Dublin; his Master of Professional Studies at New York University and a Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University. He lives and works in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where he teaches at UW-Milwaukee. Stern regularly exhibits his work internationally.