Dan Norton was born in Leeds, in the north of England in 1968. He attended Glasgow School of Art before going on to study Digital Imaging at Dundee University. He lives and works in Glasgow, Scotland.
Norton exhibits his work both on and offline, creating installations and live performances using virtual tools. His use of digital animation demands an active rather than simply imaginative engagement from the viewer. Although a work like Ablab can play happily on its own, it really only comes into being when the viewer takes up the mouse and begins to interact. The title is a contraction of abstract labyrinth, referring to the multiple layers of content which can be progressively explored and layered over one another. Meaning is here entirely unstable and can be created only in the mind of the viewer, different each time he or she engages with the work. Ablab exists in perhaps its purest form as a web-based work, which the artist is constantly updating. This is a work which foregrounds the flux of data in the digital realm and allows for a democratic multiplicity of viewpoints.
A third state in which Ablab exists is as performance. Using a console designed by himself, the artist operates the work, thereby introducing another set of variables in the form of his own subjective responses to the content of the work, the place and to the audience itself. Ablab's very shape-shifting quality situates it beyond earlier debates concerning art taken out of the gallery and into the public realm. Digital technology allows for a work to be experienced almost anywhere from a club in Glasgow to an internet café in downtown Bombay, to the laptop in your bedroom. Old parameters of value are neatly sidestepped, since everyone viewing the work is experiencing the original, which is free at the point of delivery.
Norton’s performance and exhibitions include presentations for BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, 2004; Venice Biennale, 2003; Institute of Contemporary Art, London, 2002.
Made in Britain Contemporary Art from the British Council Collection 1980-2010,China federation of Literary and Art Circles Publishing Corporation 2010. ISBN 978-7-5059-7014-4.