Skip to content Skip to navigation


Other Blogs

DRN2024 Drawing Repetition: Tracing Technology

27 March 2024

6 mins

13.00-15.00 (BST) 17 April 2024 [online]

humhyphenhum (Deborah Harty & Phil Sawdon), 2019, still from Tracing Drawology, The Chapel, YSP.


Tracing Technology is the second in the series of online DRN events exploring drawing repetition, hosted by the Drawing Research Group at Loughborough University. The panel brings together researchers investigating aspects of technology in relation to repetition within contemporary drawing practice.

Claire Anscomb will discuss recent developments in image-making processes that have repetition built into their design. A text-to-image AI generator outputs new images in the likeness of billions of images that already exist. What can further repetition bring forth from these images? The proposed presentation will tackle this question by examining a series of drawings made after AI-generated images.

The series focuses on AI-image generation processes and the lack of transparency around the sources of energy that fuel the data centres that are crucial for their operation. The process of making the images entailed training an AI image generator, Playform, on a series of images of power stations located in the same geographical areas as Microsoft’s data centres, and then reworking the results in DALL-E (owned by OpenAI, who use Microsoft’s data centres). From these outputs, five images were selected that represented key stages in the image generation process, which were copied meticulously through drawing. A sheet of carbon paper was kept beneath the drawing surface.

It will be proposed that the repetition of the AI-generated images through drawing, and the repetition of these marks through the carbon paper makes manifest the approximations that permeate the processes of AI image generation. Further, in addition to translating the formal properties of the generated images, it will be argued that this process, which recorded the labour and energy that went into the production of the drawn images embodies and foregrounds the physical resources that are obfuscated but necessary to produce the outputs of AI image-generation processes.

Dave Hawey’s presentation, will reflect on his use of repetition in his drawing process. Initially, his research-creation takes a technocritical stance to address his ambivalent relationship with technology. That is to say, Hawey is both fascinated and concerned about what technology enables, in terms of image creation and mediated aesthetic experience. In addition, he shares many authors’ point of view that abusive technology (and its hegemonic neoliberal capitalist ideology) is causing serious social, psychological, and environmental consequences. As these ideas inspire the aesthetics and narratives in Hawey’s drawings, he extensively uses repetition as a fundamental principle. In this presentation, Hawey aims to explore “How does repetition within the drawing process provide insight into the relationship with technology?” As a case study, Hawey will analyze the drawing process from his recent work “Tree of Life” by looking at three uses of repetition: as a crafting method, a communication method, and a meditation method. In this sense, he will first show how the repetition of tiles, lines, and patterns suggests perceptual/aesthetic effects (e.g., a sense of structure, rhythm, calm, predictability, illusion, attention). Then, he will show how he uses repetition to communicate meanings (e.g., denotative, connotative, allegoric) such as anxiety regarding the recursive and rationalistic nature of the technological world. Finally, as the repetition of the same gestures helps Hawey enter a meditative and soothing flow, he reflects on its beneficial psychological effects on dealing with his relationship with technology.

Hilary Judd will discuss how using a typewriter as a drawing machine is inherently repetitive. Working with the limitations of a machine designed for writing to create imagery promotes creativity; the restrictions of the carriage, the marks and shapes that can be made by certain keys, blurring, smudging, and overlaying to build up areas of density, light and shade. A laborious yet mediative process.

The project began as a ‘warm up’ to start a studio day. Drawings posted between long term collaborators, received, and returned with new marks from the other’s studio. The collection of drawings we have amassed is the result of habitual behaviour, a weekly practice of drawing and communicating.

Judd will present the latest typewriter drawings that explore notions of caring and the passing of time. The repetition of daily rituals, frustration, incremental goals and feeling like a ‘job’ of work connects very closely to the drawing process. Stuckness – being stuck in a domestic environment can fuel the desire to be creative. The sound of the strike of metal on paper feels productive. Small characters build to create an expressive image. The time-consuming nature of this drawing process inspired a series of eight pairings of drawings around caring that became a large A2 artist book called ‘The Trick’. Being a mother/caring for a mother can feel like a trick, one in which you need the help and support of others, often with starkly unequal gender divides. The book necessitates 2 people to work together in order to reveal the drawings.

The event will be chaired by Lucy Brennan-Shiel.


Claire Anscomb is a philosopher and artist. She was the 2021-22 British Society of Aesthetics Postdoctoral Fellow in the Philosophy Department at the University of Liverpool. Since September 2022, she has been a Lecturer in Fine Art at De Montfort University.

Dave Hawey has been a professor of digital art and design at the School of Digital Arts, Animation and Design (UQAC) for the past 16 years. He did his Master of Arts on the Japanese aesthetics in his digital painting process. He did his doctoral research in design on the practice of artist-developers working in the industry, to highlight their professional skills and reflective design process.

Hilary Judd [Carriage return] began in 2018 as a postal exchange of typewriter drawings with myself and artist Lucy-May-Schofield. Initially, a call and response, we have since created art works, connecting to themes exploring our lives and experiences. The project has unveiled new opportunities to extend the traditional remit of artistic practice.

Lucy Brennan-Shiel is an Irish artist with a collaborative and inter-disciplinary practice, working between Ireland where I grew up and England where I now live. I am a full time PhD Doctoral Researcher at Loughborough University since October 2023 where my research interests are James Joyce, Feminism and Drawing as Research based Practice. Instagram: @lucybrennanshielart


hosted by TRACEY at Loughborough University

Scroll to Top