Harnessing the noisy patterns of early video game aesthetics, John Provencher’s LORE series is an ongoing study of digital figures that feel strikingly familiar, yet wholly unique. The artist, designer, and creative programmer plays with generative systems to produce multilayered forms. His dotted arrays of brilliant color recall printmaking, pointillism, or the binary construction of Jacquard-woven tapestries.
After being gifted a Mac G3 for his birthday, he scavenged through relics of old files and software, entranced by how the monitor itself renders images. With only 256 colors in its system palette, the computer uses a digital imaging process called dithering to create the illusion of depth of color. Over the last few years, he’s returned to the Mac to make detailed pixelations in collaboration with his own script.
Provencher’s LORE series, presented by Forever Projects, uses a combination of media to evoke elements from an imagined video game. His three-part process involves prompting collaged figures using GAN tooling, and then rendering them through a custom dithering script before reproducing them in multiple color variations. He then uploads them to the Mac G3 to capture the final screenshot—complete with a retro window border.
In a departure from his abstract generative works, the works of LORE portray knights, hooded figures, and the weapons they might wield. While there is richness and depth in each piece, the result is decidedly low-tech. The images bring forth a nostalgia for the childhood imaginary—the escapism of channeling a protagonist in an otherworldly fantasy. The LORE series navigates the playful and the sophisticated, coalescing early memories of digital landscapes. For Provencher, the whole practice is a formal experiment that revives visuals and technologies from the past, forging them together to create something new.
We play video games to feel connected to something. We can suspend our disbelief and escape to fantastical realms. We can emulate characters and surrender to rules set forth by a virtual world (no matter how rudimentary it is). Provencher’s LORE series includes 64 pieces to represent 64 bits—just enough for us to enter into the illusion of the story, or the memory that never was. Using a dithering algorithm to approximate light and shadow in each pixel, Provencher recreates artifacts of lore, reclaiming the sensation of losing yourself in a fictional world.