Colton Hash, Artist – Victoria

Colton Hash is a digital artist who resides as a settler on Lekwungen territories of Vancouver Island. Through an intuitive coding process, Hash creates impactful installations to foster nuanced thinking about complex ecological relationships. His interactive and new media artworks engage the general public with imminent issues relating to climate change and the Anthropocene. He received his MFA from the University of Victoria in 2022 and has multidisciplinary foundations in computer science and ecology. His exhibition Synoptic Translations is at Harcourt House Artist Run Centre in Edmonton until June 4.

  1. Data visualization

Colton Hash, Eye of the Anthropocene, 2022, data visualization of petroleum infrastructure and wildfire activity

Concerned about climate change and the cumulative impacts of resource extraction systems, I am interested in data visualization to explore large-scale relationships between industrial civilizations and the Earth. I use publicly available GIS data as material to consider environmental change and to depict the logic of industrial society.

  1. Digital simulation

Colton Hash, Evolutionary Forest, 2022, generative simulation of forest growth and adaptation

I am also interested in the medium of digital simulation, through which I create virtual environments that continually adapt to changing conditions. Similar to video game worlds, artistic simulations can run in real-time on computer hardware and function semi-autonomously to produce imagery. These generative artworks involve alternative processes of computer programming that require me to embrace uncertainty and release my artistic control over the resulting compositions.

  1. Interactive installation

Colton Hash, Uncertain Associations, 2022, interactive installation depicting construction and decay of buildings

Simulation-based artworks can be exhibited as interactive installations, where viewer engagement affects the evolution of digital elements. Considering both individual and cumulative interaction as metaphors for our cultural relationships to nature, interactivity can foster nuanced thinking about our collective agency to affect change.

  1. Permaculture

Permaculture garden in Langford, BC

I practice regenerative gardening through the lens of permaculture, where energy flows between interconnected systems. Similar to how I program and balance digital simulations, gardening involves the engineering of logical structures to nourish soil and foster biodiversity.

  1. Science fiction

I have always loved the world building and political explorations of science fiction writers. I often reflect on Adrienne Maree Brown’s radical conceptualization of sci-fi as a means to envision alternative relationships for our collective future.