You are not what you have been taught (Installation view), 2013. Televisions, video projection, microphones, and effects processors. Dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Angela Richardson.

Madison, WI


In the installation You are not what you have been taught, Justin Bitner couples vintage televisions emitting static noise with looping, digital videos of earthly phenomena. Because the television sets are analog, a now-unsupported technology, they transmit only visual “noise.” These dots of flickering static are the result of stray electromagnetic waves—residual radiation from the Big Bang. In a sense, the static is a translation of our universe as interpreted by outdated technology. The artist’s accompanying video—a looping projection showing the rhythms of the natural world—offers striking visual and aural similarities to the television static, like a digital echo of the analog. Exploring the interconnections between old and new technologies through sound and moving image, Bitner creates a meditative and immersive environment for contemplating the cyclical nature of existence.


Justin Bitner received his MFA in Studio Arts from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 2013. During his graduate studies, he held teaching assistant positions in both 2D Design and Woodworking. Bitner also received a number of grants and awards including two fellowships and Professional Development Grants from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. His twenty years of experience as a DJ has served him well in his experimentation as an artist with projected images, amplification, placement of microphones, feedback, and the pairing of electronic and acoustic sounds. Bitner’s work has been shown in Madison at the 7th Floor Gallery, Lofts Gallery, Commonwealth Gallery, and at the Chazen Museum of Art. He has also been shown in a variety of museums and galleries in Wisconsin and Illinois.