DOCUMENT is pleased to present Anthology, the first exhibition of this series of photographs by Chicago-based artist Christopher Meerdo.
In Anthology, ideas of authorship, the permanence of imagery, and the limitations of photography are questioned and undermined. Using image data recovery programs, Meerdo excavates erased images from used memory cards he buys off of eBay and Craigslist. The life of a memory card – photographing, deleting, transferring, re-photographing – can generate incomplete data that is left behind. During the recovery process, these resurrected images become fragmented juxtapositions of composition and hue, creating a visual hybrid of a photograph as a representational image and a photograph as data.
As photography has become the ultimate digital commodity, there remains a complicated relationship with indexicality. To imagine the hundreds of thousands of images that are created, stored, and erased every day places digital photography into both a neurotic and entropic disposition. By saving and storing thousands of these eradicated images, Meerdo further contextualizes photography’s dependence in technology while revealing our photographic collective mass as consumers.
A project spanning six years, each disrupted image in Anthology is printed exactly as it was recovered through the restoration process.
Christopher Meerdo (b.1981) is a Chicago based artist who grew up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and spent time in post-soviet Lithuania as a teenager. He has survived three near-death experiences including drowning and crashing in an airplane. Meerdo is a recipient of an MFA in Photography from the University of Illinois at Chicago. His work has been shown in numerous locations including Reykjavik, Nottingham, Seattle, Toronto, New York, and Chicago with recent exhibitions at Gallery 400, The Hyde Park Art Center, Roxaboxen and Roots & Culture in Chicago. Meerdo was recently an artist in residence at the SIM Residency in Reykjavik, Iceland and currently teaches photography at the Art Institute of Chicago.