In my work I create digital interventions that insert the invisible or missing into the visible medium of photography. I create photographs that conjure the unseen and unspoken—making visible desire, anxiety, fantasy, and loss—shared narratives that have been exiled from our photo albums and Instagram feeds. In the computer I work like a skin grafter, taking small bits of photographs and building expanses of new, invented material. In these photographs, limbs become twisted and contorted, landscapes become elongated and exaggerated, bodies and spaces disappear and reappear. These visual contradictions and confabulations ask complicated questions about what it means to see in a photographic culture. Can you see loss? When we pose with our friends and family in photographs what parts of ourselves are erased? How do we use photographs to remember, and what happens if we choose to forget?
Sarah Sweeney received her BA in Studio Art from Williams College and an MFA in Digital Media from Columbia University School of the Arts and is currently Associate Professor of Art at Skidmore College. She is the creator of The Forgetting Machine, an iPhone app commissioned by the new media organization Rhizome. Her work has appeared nationally and internationally in exhibitions at locations including the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art, the Los Angeles Center for Digital Art, the New Jersey State Museum, the Black and White Gallery, and the UCR/California Photography Museum.