Digital Artefacts (Chernobyl): Self-Organizing Matter

Master's Thesis


This thesis paper will describe both the conceptual logic and formal qualities behind the work in my Master of Fine Arts thesis exhibition at the Snite Museum of Art. My exhibition, entitled, Digital Artefacts (Chernobyl): Self-Organizing Matter contends with the catastrophe of Chernobyl, not simply as an event optimizing technological hubris, but instead as an example of the complex relationship humans have with progress. Generated from objects I digitally 3D scanned in Chernobyl; I consider my work to be fragmented Digital Artefacts of emergent self-organizing matter. Contrary to the methodology of archaeology, that as the natural transition of material, or entropy, increases, information and thus meaning decreases, I am interested in the inverse, or that as entropy increases, meaning has the potential to increase. I am interested in embracing the artefact as a source of fragmentation, and I think of this work as moving toward new non-anthropocentric archaeology, wherein the agency of the fragment, autonomous of the intact object, can lead to a deeper meaning. Devoid of nostalgia and bereft of reconstruction, these generated artefacts focus on the undoing as a more accurate understanding of a place and time. This new body of work shifts away from the culturally constructed myths surrounding human progress, and embraces natural patterns of the dynamic and the chaotic as a more complex and accurate view of the relationship humans have with perceived advancement.


Attribute NameValues
Author Timothy Earl Neill
Contributor Emily Beck, Committee Member
Contributor Jason Lahr, Committee Member
Contributor Austin Collins, Research Director
Degree Level Master's Thesis
Degree Discipline Art, Art History and Design
Degree Name MFA
Defense Date
  • 2017-04-11

Submission Date 2017-04-13
  • Chernobyl, 3D scan, 3D Digital Scan, Artifact, Artefact, Digital Artefact, Self-Organizing Matter, New Materialism, Progress, Human Progress, Progress Trap, Hyper-Commercial, Fragment, Adaptation, Attractor, Manuel De Landa, Ronald Wright, Timothy Earl Neill

Record Visibility Public
Content License
  • All rights reserved

Departments and Units


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