Parallel Screens (San Diego)
Period: 4 July 2019 – 18 August 2019
Artists: Carla Chaim, Luis Urculo, Tina Wilke, Meredith Sward, Pablo-Martín Córdoba, Jessica Findley, Mercedes Lozano, Allison Beda, Randi Renate, Liss LaFleur, Justin McHugh, Chong Yan Chuah, Simon Isaac, Johanna Keimeyer, Mari Nagem, Nick Lesley, Flavia D’Urso, Lissa Corona, Capt. James, Zoya Sardashti, Alexander Isaenko, Allison Beaudry, Liss LaFleur, Jonas Brinker and Esben Holk
Location: 1805 Gallery, San Diego, California, US
With support by Porto Vista Hotel Curator Residency Programme
Reflection, when it is a case of mirroring, is a move toward an external symmetry; while reflexiveness is a strategy to achieve a radical asymmetry, from within. Rosalind Krauss, 1976
Qualquer pessoa pode, a um tempo, ver o rosto e outra e sua reflexão no espelho. Sem sofisma, refuto-o. O experimento, por sinal ainda não realizado com rigor, careceria de valor científico, em vista das irredutíveis deformações, de ordem psicológica. Tente, aliás, fazê-lo, e terá notáveis surpresas. Além de que a simultaneidade torna-se impossível, no fluir de valores instantâneos. Ah, o tempo é o mágico de todas as traições… E os próprios olhos, de cada um de nós, padecem viciação de origem, defeitos com que cresceram e a que se afizeram, mais e mais. João Guimarães Rosa, 1962
The digital world, in a manner of speaking, is a world that the humans have coated over with their own retina. This humanly networked world produces a permanent self-mirroring. The closer the net is woven, the more thoroughly the world shields itself against the other, the outside. The digital retina turns the world into a screen-and-control monitor. Inside this autoerotic visual space, in this digital inwardness there can be no sense of wonder. The only thing human beings still like are themselves. Han, Byung-Chul, 2015
Parallel Screens is a group exhibition that presents exclusively moving images artworks in a single duration scheme where artworks are screened one after the other for the duration of the exhibition: 120 minutes. Once finished the circle re-starts and the exhibition is exhibited again and again. The screening occurs through a two video, one audio channel circuit where two parallel screens are positioned in opposite to each other.
The general idea of moving images is engrained in everyday life, it is common place that with increased speed in data transmission through the internet we now have infinite access to high definition content in a multitude of subjects. If before image resolution had to be sacrificed for quick access and saving time, now we have an almost inexhaustible source of content and entertainment limited only to our only biological needs. A situation well illustrated by Netflix’s CEO in 2017 claimed that “sleep” was a competitor to the entertainment platform.
If the moving image is accessible, defused and varied, how have these developments impacted human visual literacy? How has the understanding of the moving image influenced or found parallels in other defused visual media: photography, television and cinema? And whilst considering other media, is there any necessary differentiation in comparison with its art savvy counterparts? Installation art, experimental photography, expanded cinema, etc. That although not altogether dissimilated from pop culture references and intersections, still very much persist in a different realm of visual criticism.
In this current ecology of the moving image, Parallel Screen’s format creates a situation that visitors are unfamiliar with: being posited between the two screens they need to develop their own forms of negotiating attention among the two sources and explore singular narrative construction, that we have become costumed to, also highlights the inevitable agency of the viewer. For the artworks, there is a certain permanence, here the screens – by facing one another – are in perpetual dialogue in an almost self sufficient format. The viewer takes the form of an intruder or a voyeur into this autonomous game.
In resonance with these hanging positions PS is an athematic exhibition, and if anything recognises the importance of reflection and reflexiveness inevitably present in the relationship between artwork & viewer, artwork & screen and screen & viewer. Therefore looking into contingent positions of all involved and ever expanding intellectual possibilities of all tree parties. As putted by Ed Atkins:
I’ve often felt betrayed by the group show thematic, because my work inevitably becomes bound up with the show’s theme as a result. I mean this specifically in relation to tacit violences of intellectual or affective co-option. A work’s recruitment to the accord of a group show’s overarching theme results in its retardation.
This radical position is useful in this context to strip away the imposed aesthetic and political ideas onto the medium, a freedom that hopefully will liberate the moving image to be whatever it wants to be and can be to the artist and the viewer. Also with its durational aspect, a thematic approach would fail in being accessed by viewers at different given times within the show span.
Before we accelerate into the future, let’s pause and watch how the moving image manifests itself in artistic production and how this array of artists tackle the difficult task to mesmerise the frantic viewer.