Green On Red Gallery, Dublin
John Cronin: ZXX
“For many years now my work has been concerned with painting in the age of artificial intelligence. An age, in which, our visual understanding and appreciation are continually being upgraded, as technological advancements evolve. While at the same time I have strived for my work to reflect the society in which it was produced.
“ZXX, my latest body of work is a logical development of Augmented Reality and Standard Deviation as it sees me trying to take control of their corrupted elements and deviations while reflecting my continuing concerns about the processing of information. The name ZXX comes from a system the US Library of Congress uses to denote a book’s written language. In this context ZXX means “No linguistic content” which in itself is a beautiful metaphor for Abstraction. And Abstraction is also involved in the other use of ZXX; that of being a covert typeface designed by a former NSA agent Sang Mun. His idea was to produce a typeface to avoid optical character recognition as used in surveillance. Letterforms are obscured with various camouflages or visual noise rendering the message visually illegible to prying computer cameras. I came across it while ferreting around for images, ideas, ideologies, in fact anything really that synced with my thoughts and aspirations for my work. With my desire to push the work into new areas, while still reflecting my preoccupation with painting in the age of artificial intelligence, I felt I needed something that was current and that reflected the society the works were being produced in, a society under surveillance.
Around this time Edward Snowden, another former NSA agent, had come to the world’s attention when he revealed the shocking extent of numerous global surveillance systems. In this climate ZXX became more enticing as a title. It seemed in tune with the zeitgeist while at the same time reflected people’s growing desire to hinder the surveillance”.