Justin Watson 

MFA Exhibition

Opening Reception: June 24th, 2016   6-9PM

Post-Reception Exhibition dates: June 25 – June 29, by appointment only


One day, after shoveling through the remnants of my wallet, I discovered a single slide labeled “AUTOMATIC PROCESSING PITFALLS” wedged between an expired credit card and a business contact I never bothered to call back. I have no recollection of discovering this strange artifact; the origins are blurred and the longer I think about it, the more I find myself inventing how I placed it inside my wallet.  The background is a cliché 1980’s–early 1990’s design scheme of Helvetica text set over fading purple to black. I meditated on the meaning of the phrase for awhile, figured it functioned as a meta-editing process for old film splicing. I slipped the slide back in and forgot about it.

Nearly a year later, I was reading about a therapeutic process defined as EMDR—Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing—and realized this phrase “Automatic Processing’ was correlated to a concept embedded in cognitive psychology. Automatic processing is how we relate information defined within the bounds of three areas: those that occur prior to conscious awareness (preconscious); those that require some form of conscious processing but that produce an unintended outcome (post-conscious); and those that require a specific type of intentional, goal directed processing (goal-dependent). I have decided to approach the processing mechanism more directly through coping reenactments of my past and through machine-oriented learning processes.

Spiders, snakes and even humans shed the entirety of their skin, their outer surfaces, but retain their physical composition and internal form. I will never shed myself of my patterns, of my processes, of my way of thinking, no more than I can shed the trauma from the world around me. In order to reconcile my experience with the past, the present and the future I must remove from my mind the artificial boundaries imposed by the past. Trauma is a liminal structure between remembrance and forgetting. It is as much a ghost as these keystrokes. The ego is as much an artifice as an artificial intelligence. We worry about such notions because we fear our own loss of ownership of the world. We are collapsing. The mind fragments, shifts and falls apart as do our bodies slowly disintegrate.


156 W Utopia Ave

My Studio


Projection Room