About

Born in Austin TX. Studied Audio Engineering and the University of Colorado in Denver and Music Composition at Cal Arts. Living in NYC since 2009. Working as an artist, designer, artistic director, creative technologist, and more.

Has exhibited internationally at TATE Britain, The Photographer's Gallery (London), NYU Art Gallery (Abu Dhabi, UAE), Diagonale Gallery (Montreal), Transfer Gallery (NYC), Fridman Gallery (NYC), The Park Avenue Armory (NYC), and more.

Phillip's artwork

Unfollow

Part of the Unstagram series Unstagram A collection of video works documenting a manual reset of my Instagram account. Seldom do we consider how much we’ve given to social media platforms. We do so for numerous reasons—to be seen, to show off, to share something that moves us, to be desired. We share for others and ourselves, but also we share with the makers of the platform, who then share with advertisers, who are essentially buying our attention. These platforms are designed to maximized our engagement and as we engage, they become better at drawing us in. They are anxiety machines. It’s not far fetched to claim that these systems are designed (if not intentionally) to prey upon our anxiety through an endless feedback loop of production seeking satisfaction. As an act of refusal, I decided to erase myself from Instagram and other platforms. These works are offer the most complete record of the process, or reversing my actions, retracing my steps. Rather than simply deleting and forgetting, I invite you, the viewer to take stock with me, to confront the visceral act of unposting, unliking, unfollowing, unarchiving, until all that is left is a pure, virginal headstone signaling my departure as well as my presence. If you wish, you can request to follow my account @phillipstearns. Though I won’t accept, your request will persist. Occasionally, I return to check on the account to find a stray follower or that I’m following someone. These occurrences would otherwise go unnoticed. Perhaps they are accounts that were deactivated, resurging to life, or clever individuals who have managed to circumvent Instagram’s privacy features. Whatever they may be, they indicate a simmering broth of algorithmic activity that undergirds our lives on these platforms.

Unpost

Part of the Unstagram series Unstagram A collection of video works documenting a manual reset of my Instagram account. Seldom do we consider how much we’ve given to social media platforms. We do so for numerous reasons—to be seen, to show off, to share something that moves us, to be desired. We share for others and ourselves, but also we share with the makers of the platform, who then share with advertisers, who are essentially buying our attention. These platforms are designed to maximized our engagement and as we engage, they become better at drawing us in. They are anxiety machines. It’s not far fetched to claim that these systems are designed (if not intentionally) to prey upon our anxiety through an endless feedback loop of production seeking satisfaction. As an act of refusal, I decided to erase myself from Instagram and other platforms. These works are offer the most complete record of the process, or reversing my actions, retracing my steps. Rather than simply deleting and forgetting, I invite you, the viewer to take stock with me, to confront the visceral act of unposting, unliking, unfollowing, unarchiving, until all that is left is a pure, virginal headstone signaling my departure as well as my presence. If you wish, you can request to follow my account @phillipstearns. Though I won’t accept, your request will persist. Occasionally, I return to check on the account to find a stray follower or that I’m following someone. These occurrences would otherwise go unnoticed. Perhaps they are accounts that were deactivated, resurging to life, or clever individuals who have managed to circumvent Instagram’s privacy features. Whatever they may be, they indicate a simmering broth of algorithmic activity that undergirds our lives on these platforms.

Unlike

Part of the Unstagram series Unstagram A collection of video works documenting a manual reset of my Instagram account. Seldom do we consider how much we’ve given to social media platforms. We do so for numerous reasons—to be seen, to show off, to share something that moves us, to be desired. We share for others and ourselves, but also we share with the makers of the platform, who then share with advertisers, who are essentially buying our attention. These platforms are designed to maximized our engagement and as we engage, they become better at drawing us in. They are anxiety machines. It’s not far fetched to claim that these systems are designed (if not intentionally) to prey upon our anxiety through an endless feedback loop of production seeking satisfaction. As an act of refusal, I decided to erase myself from Instagram and other platforms. These works are offer the most complete record of the process, or reversing my actions, retracing my steps. Rather than simply deleting and forgetting, I invite you, the viewer to take stock with me, to confront the visceral act of unposting, unliking, unfollowing, unarchiving, until all that is left is a pure, virginal headstone signaling my departure as well as my presence. If you wish, you can request to follow my account @phillipstearns. Though I won’t accept, your request will persist. Occasionally, I return to check on the account to find a stray follower or that I’m following someone. These occurrences would otherwise go unnoticed. Perhaps they are accounts that were deactivated, resurging to life, or clever individuals who have managed to circumvent Instagram’s privacy features. Whatever they may be, they indicate a simmering broth of algorithmic activity that undergirds our lives on these platforms.

Untag

Part of the Unstagram series Unstagram A collection of video works documenting a manual reset of my Instagram account. Seldom do we consider how much we’ve given to social media platforms. We do so for numerous reasons—to be seen, to show off, to share something that moves us, to be desired. We share for others and ourselves, but also we share with the makers of the platform, who then share with advertisers, who are essentially buying our attention. These platforms are designed to maximized our engagement and as we engage, they become better at drawing us in. They are anxiety machines. It’s not far fetched to claim that these systems are designed (if not intentionally) to prey upon our anxiety through an endless feedback loop of production seeking satisfaction. As an act of refusal, I decided to erase myself from Instagram and other platforms. These works are offer the most complete record of the process, or reversing my actions, retracing my steps. Rather than simply deleting and forgetting, I invite you, the viewer to take stock with me, to confront the visceral act of unposting, unliking, unfollowing, unarchiving, until all that is left is a pure, virginal headstone signaling my departure as well as my presence. If you wish, you can request to follow my account @phillipstearns. Though I won’t accept, your request will persist. Occasionally, I return to check on the account to find a stray follower or that I’m following someone. These occurrences would otherwise go unnoticed. Perhaps they are accounts that were deactivated, resurging to life, or clever individuals who have managed to circumvent Instagram’s privacy features. Whatever they may be, they indicate a simmering broth of algorithmic activity that undergirds our lives on these platforms.

Unsave

Part of the Unstagram series Unstagram A collection of video works documenting a manual reset of my Instagram account. Seldom do we consider how much we’ve given to social media platforms. We do so for numerous reasons—to be seen, to show off, to share something that moves us, to be desired. We share for others and ourselves, but also we share with the makers of the platform, who then share with advertisers, who are essentially buying our attention. These platforms are designed to maximized our engagement and as we engage, they become better at drawing us in. They are anxiety machines. It’s not far fetched to claim that these systems are designed (if not intentionally) to prey upon our anxiety through an endless feedback loop of production seeking satisfaction. As an act of refusal, I decided to erase myself from Instagram and other platforms. These works are offer the most complete record of the process, or reversing my actions, retracing my steps. Rather than simply deleting and forgetting, I invite you, the viewer to take stock with me, to confront the visceral act of unposting, unliking, unfollowing, unarchiving, until all that is left is a pure, virginal headstone signaling my departure as well as my presence. If you wish, you can request to follow my account @phillipstearns. Though I won’t accept, your request will persist. Occasionally, I return to check on the account to find a stray follower or that I’m following someone. These occurrences would otherwise go unnoticed. Perhaps they are accounts that were deactivated, resurging to life, or clever individuals who have managed to circumvent Instagram’s privacy features. Whatever they may be, they indicate a simmering broth of algorithmic activity that undergirds our lives on these platforms.

Unarchive

Part of the Unstagram series Unstagram A collection of video works documenting a manual reset of my Instagram account. Seldom do we consider how much we’ve given to social media platforms. We do so for numerous reasons—to be seen, to show off, to share something that moves us, to be desired. We share for others and ourselves, but also we share with the makers of the platform, who then share with advertisers, who are essentially buying our attention. These platforms are designed to maximized our engagement and as we engage, they become better at drawing us in. They are anxiety machines. It’s not far fetched to claim that these systems are designed (if not intentionally) to prey upon our anxiety through an endless feedback loop of production seeking satisfaction. As an act of refusal, I decided to erase myself from Instagram and other platforms. These works are offer the most complete record of the process, or reversing my actions, retracing my steps. Rather than simply deleting and forgetting, I invite you, the viewer to take stock with me, to confront the visceral act of unposting, unliking, unfollowing, unarchiving, until all that is left is a pure, virginal headstone signaling my departure as well as my presence. If you wish, you can request to follow my account @phillipstearns. Though I won’t accept, your request will persist. Occasionally, I return to check on the account to find a stray follower or that I’m following someone. These occurrences would otherwise go unnoticed. Perhaps they are accounts that were deactivated, resurging to life, or clever individuals who have managed to circumvent Instagram’s privacy features. Whatever they may be, they indicate a simmering broth of algorithmic activity that undergirds our lives on these platforms.

Unmessage

Part of the Unstagram series Unstagram A collection of video works documenting a manual reset of my Instagram account. Seldom do we consider how much we’ve given to social media platforms. We do so for numerous reasons—to be seen, to show off, to share something that moves us, to be desired. We share for others and ourselves, but also we share with the makers of the platform, who then share with advertisers, who are essentially buying our attention. These platforms are designed to maximized our engagement and as we engage, they become better at drawing us in. They are anxiety machines. It’s not far fetched to claim that these systems are designed (if not intentionally) to prey upon our anxiety through an endless feedback loop of production seeking satisfaction. As an act of refusal, I decided to erase myself from Instagram and other platforms. These works are offer the most complete record of the process, or reversing my actions, retracing my steps. Rather than simply deleting and forgetting, I invite you, the viewer to take stock with me, to confront the visceral act of unposting, unliking, unfollowing, unarchiving, until all that is left is a pure, virginal headstone signaling my departure as well as my presence. If you wish, you can request to follow my account @phillipstearns. Though I won’t accept, your request will persist. Occasionally, I return to check on the account to find a stray follower or that I’m following someone. These occurrences would otherwise go unnoticed. Perhaps they are accounts that were deactivated, resurging to life, or clever individuals who have managed to circumvent Instagram’s privacy features. Whatever they may be, they indicate a simmering broth of algorithmic activity that undergirds our lives on these platforms.

Chapter 15: Room to Room

Chapter 15: Room to Room By: Phillip David Stearns Quality: 4K Inspired by the labyrinth 3D screen saver from Windows 3.1, this work is a study of islamic architectural features, repetition, and spatial disorientation. The notion of a labyrinth as a singular, fixed path, or a maze with impassable walls, is here inverted. Every turn leads to an encounter revealing not a boundary, but a repetition of architectural form. After a few turns, one becomes disoriented as there is no fixable, unique point of reference. This sensation of an endless journey with no clear sense of direction or progress is meant to reflect Sofia's experiences in dealing with Saif during his birthday retreat.

Perlin Nebula Study 001

A series looking at the use of Perlin noise and other functions used to create generative textures.

HOLIDAY CAMPFIRE WISHES

The work is an ironic twist on a few classic holiday tropes: an evergreen forest dusted in a fresh blanket of powdery snow; a roaring fire radiating glowing warmth; the sky cast a deep blue violet streaked pink from the setting sun; the camera slowly tracks outwards, gently fading between angles. This picturesque setting envelopes a not so subtle message of ecological stewardship, linking the commercially idealized images of the holiday season with hyperbolically imagined byproducts of the consumption it facilitates.

Waves of Vapor (Crypto Fumes)

Digital technologies are shaping our physical landscapes in ways that we are not fully aware of. As cryptocurrencies gain popularity, many are raising the question of the environmental impact of producing the energy required to satisfy a growing network of computers mining currencies like Bitcoin. Bitcoin miners use hardware mining rigs that utilize Graphics Processing Units or GPUs like those used in high end VFX and video production studios to process and generate content. Rendering realistic, high-quality 4K moving image content requires a lot of computation and energy. This work was rendered using a free community render farm where users contribute their machines' computing power to render each other's frames. Render farms similar to this one, but much larger in scope are constantly churning out frames for today's media industry. This work draws a parallel between the role of GPU technologies giving shape to virtual landscapes and their role in physically altering our environment in less visible ways.

Terra Recognita

Digital technologies are shaping our physical landscapes in ways that we are not fully aware of. As cryptocurrencies gain popularity, many are raising the question of the environmental impact of producing the energy required to satisfy a growing network of computers mining currencies like Bitcoin. Bitcoin miners use hardware mining rigs that utilize Graphics Processing Units or GPUs like those used in high end VFX and video production studios to process and generate content. Rendering realistic, high-quality 4K moving image content requires a lot of computation and energy. This work was rendered using a free community render farm where users contribute their machines' computing power to render each other's frames. Render farms similar to this one, but much larger in scope are constantly churning out frames for today's media industry. This work draws a parallel between the role of GPU technologies giving shape to virtual landscapes and their role in physically altering our environment in less visible ways.