Mark Napier: Sacred Code

Mark Napier: Sacred Code

sacred code (old testament) by mark napier

Mark Napier

Sacred Code (Old Testament), 2003

koran by mark napier

Mark Napier

Koran, 2003

Friday, December 12, 2003Saturday, January 17, 2004

SHOW DATES: 12.12.03 - 1.17.04    OPENING RECEPTION: 12.12.03 6-8 PM

bitforms Gallery presents Mark Napier in his first solo show in New York City. Opening December 12, the show "Sacred Code" is a rumination on three holy texts:The Old Testament, The New Testament and the Koran, as seen through a digital lens.

In this new artwork, Napier has created algorithms that read these three books bit by bit, literally reading the text as a stream of zeroes and ones. At this lowest level of information, the text becomes a topography, a marking of electronic impulses. The artwork translates the stream of bits into motion: two calligraphic marks, one black and one white, chase one another in a seemingly endless dance on screen, leaving behind faint trails as the move. Rather than interpreting the meaning of the texts, the artwork reads the "shape" of the texts: the shifting topography of binary code drives the motion of the black and white trails on screen. In the process, a binary world is represented as a cloud of shifting shades of gray.

The artwork is presented through physical installation with the "live" work running on computers, and as large scale prints that show the cumulative effect of a complete translation of one text.

Mark Napier, painter-turned-digital-artist, is one of the early pioneering artists of the Internet. Through his web-based artwork such as The Shredder, Digital Landfill, and Feed, he has explored the potential of the worldwide network as a public space for art. Drawing on his experience as a software developer, Napier treats software as an expressive form. His online studio,, is an open playground of interactive artwork. Napier has created a wide range of projects which appropriate the data of the web, transforming content into abstraction, text into graphics, and information into art. His works have been included in leading exhibitions of Digital Art including: the Whitney Museum of American Art Biennial Exhibition, the Whitney's Data Dynamics exhibition, the San Francisco Museum of Art's 010101: Art in the Age of Technology, and ZKM's (Center for Art & Media in Karlsruhe, Germany) net_condition exhibition. A recipient of grants from Creative Capital (2002), NYFA (2001) the Greenwall Foundation (2001), Napier has been commissioned to create artwork by SFMOMA, the Whitney Museum, and the Guggenheim.

Digital consciousness is what defines the bitforms artist. This artistic practice embodies inventive ways of interpreting, manipulating and visualizing information and ideas.