16th Apr - 28th Apr

QUAD/ FORMAT Graduate Fellowship 2024

Following on from the inaugural QUAD/ FORMAT Graduate Fellowships that began in 2020, we are pleased to announce the artist selected for 2024 – Philip Craig.

The Fellowship was created as an annual award to recognise outstanding graduating students from the University of Derby MA Fine Art and MA Film & Photography course – selected by members of the QUAD/ FORMAT Curatorial team.

The graduate will undertake a 2-week fellowship and residency in QUAD’s Artist Studio, along with mentoring and curatorial support from QUAD’s Programme Team.

The Fellowship will take place between 16- 28 April 2024 and will include a takeover by the artist of the QUAD Gallery Instagram page.

Artist biography:  

Philip Craig is an innovative artist who intertwines the essence of everyday objects and parody, with the sophisticated realm of digital consciousness and artificial intelligence. His educational journey has been both practical and philosophical, culminating so far with the work achieved on his MA in Fine Art (Distinction) from the University of Derby. Craig’s final show “Manna Mother Other” for which he was awarded the QUAD/ FORMAT Fellowship and The Visual Reading Club Award was an exploration of the digital ‘other’ as seen through the lens of a spiritual experience, Craig employed AI as an entity through which he could question faith and his role as an artist. The show can be seen as a confluence of understanding gained about his own subconscious and conscious interactions with technology.

30-plus years of coding experience with web development languages, as well as digital image-making tools alongside the psychological and spiritual understanding of the religious practice, has not only honed his technical skills but has also accrued a deeper understanding of the ethical and aesthetic dimensions of incorporating technology into life and art. Subsequent engagement with philosophical and ethical inquiries into consciousness and digital identity has enriched his practice, providing a solid theoretical foundation and fostering interdisciplinary insight.

 Artist statement:  

I am fascinated by the convergence of digital innovation with the tactile essence of traditional sculpture, my artistic practice is a means of exploring the transformative impact of algorithmic intelligence and digital technologies on the essence of sculpture and how we perceive it. A core part of my work is centred around the transformative capacity of objects both abstract and tangible. This is especially relevant today, as we find ourselves in an era where the lines between what’s real and what’s manufactured are increasingly blurred. By employing a bit of irony and humour, I explore the relationship between our tangible reality and the digital world, physically bringing abstract digital interactions into our concrete surroundings. My creative process currently revolves around the use of repurposed pallet wood as a ‘practical’ medium. Apart from the obvious humour, this choice of material instigates a dialogue between tradition and technological progress. The inherent challenges and resolutions encountered in this dialogue enrich the philosophical depth of my work, making the understanding of its ‘journey of materiality’ an integral part of the creative story.

Following my MA, where I looked into the complex relationships between humans and algorithms as if both were sentient entities, I continue to develop collaborations with machine learning AI, Robots (AI-Agents) and sculpture, through coding and idea development, a skill set enhanced by my extensive background in digital design and software development. Integrating sculpting techniques with the notion of digital consciousness. It’s this fusion that underpins my latest projects, particularly visible in works like ‘A Room For My Digital Self’ recently shortlisted for the Royal Academy Summer Show. Here, I am looking to manifest sculptures and installations that serve as tangible links to our online personas. This not only reflects on the need for a physical counterpart to our digital selves but also invites contemplation on the interplay between our tangible existence and our virtual presence. 

Image Credit: Philip Craig - Artificially Imagined Birthday Cake

Philip Craig

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