Category Archives: Family Workstations


Family Workstations

Family workstations is a documentary photography series of the personal computers and home workspaces of the artist and his relatives in Canada and Northern Ireland. For the photos, family members were invited to arrange their personal spaces and put something significant on the screens–these included documents and applications the owners were creating (a memoir, a newspaper article, a web site, a photo collection a piece software), as well as a favourite computer game and image. At the bottom of each print is a text stating the relation of the person to the artist (mother, brother, uncle, etc.) and the technical specifications for the computer depicted. The people themselves were not included in the photo.

The series is a kind of family portrait, where the identity of each member becomes an extension of their choice of technology and how they arrange their physical space. It is intended as a snapshot of an era. Initially the artist assumed that the computer technology and the way people were using them would appear quickly obsolete, while the human relations would be more durable. But, while the relation of father, mother, brother, uncle, cousin, does not change, the people themselves did. They age, multiply and die.

In the artist’s family, his mother’s disdain for computers (her portrait shows her tech-free writing table) was always in conflict with his father’s early-adopter embracing of technology. The artist recalls the first time a computer came in the house was in 1975. His father set up a rudimentary computer terminal connected to the home dial-phone receiver on the mahogany dining-room table until his mom saw it and told him to take that ugly thing elsewhere.

Since then, the artist is both enthusiastic about new technology, and aware of how it changes things. As digital technologies continue to be more and more integrated into every aspect of our lives and even our bodies, Family Work Stations is a cautiously-nostalgic sign post made for future viewers looking back to see how things have changed and how that change might of happened.