Jon Cates has invented his own glitch-activated world of what he calls “dirty new media.” Unlike the slick interfaces and narratives that tend to cross our screens on a daily basis, to enter Cates’ world is to plunge into a sea of pixels, swirling and animating endlessly and seemingly needlessly. But not at all, for here is the Dada artist of the digital age. Nonsensical, but powerfully directed art that excavates the world we live in, a world we never have time to investigate as thoroughly and obsessively as Cates. To go through Cates’ sites is to enter an abandoned basement of endless stuff. Once you lose your fear of getting lost amidst the rummage, it becomes a playland of endless possibilities, a magic theater of strange spinning, rotating things, raw code, jumbled up texts: a wild, wacky, wondrous world of digital nothingness. About as nothing as nothing could be until you realize its all part of something so grand and wonderful you have to just pause and absorb it all.
In an information-saturated environment that allows no time at all for anything, because things and people lose their intrinsic value amidst the over-population of it all, in the Jon Cates world, everything is important, everything is justified, everything has the potential of becoming. It’s a revelation to discover this fact: just when you couldn’t possibly answer another email, follow another link, or watch yet another video clip… in the Jon Cates space where all things matter, you can feel your heartbeat slow way down as you just sit and reflect on the glorious simplicity of a three-second animated gif, three seconds that could very well become an eternity.