Annie Dorsen, Kyle McDonald, Boris Meister,
RAND Corporation, Elaine Reichek, Sebastian Schmieg,
Mungo Thomson, Clement Valla, Siebren Versteeg
Curated by A.E. Benenson
May 30 – July 19, 2013
Curatorial Statement by A.E. Benenson:
At the birth of modern computing, a paradox: only after Alan Turing theorizes an infinitely large computer* do we begin to plausibly imagine how our world could be digitally remade as small as possible. That is, it’s only after Turing fixed our technological gaze outwards onto infinity that we began our relentless dwindling inwards, towards miniaturized circuits and virtualization. Taking this contradictory movement as its content and form, the exhibition Vanishing Point presents views of a contemporary digital vastness that is both boundless and barely there.
By understanding computing as an ongoing experiment in the incommensurate, the artists in this exhibition draw the discipline into various unlikely associations: outer-space, the afterlife, Abstract Expressionism, Greek Tragedy. And yet at the same time, there is a move to deconstruct the traditional aesthetic associations with the infinite (e.g. “the sublime”) in terms of a contemporary virtual sprawl that is often pathetically insignificant, banal and quotidian. These analytical impulses are tempered with modes of address that are more lyrical, less direct; formal experiments within the contradictions of a new vastness that is simultaneously too large and too small to be fully apprehended.
Here, “vanishing point” refers not only to the infinitely distant and small destination where everything rushes to converge, but also to a potential moment of disappearance – an event horizon where technology swallows something once and for all…what exactly – irrationality, expressivity, scarcity, suffering? Nothing in this exhibition claims to know with certainty. The objective is not to make predictions, but to press ourselves a little closer to the arc that bends towards the limit.
* the universal Turing machine, 1936
Annie Dorsen, “Hello Hi There”, 2011-2013
Kyle McDonald, “Only Everything Lasts Forever”, 2009
Boris Meister, “Above the Cloud – Archaeology of Social Networks”, 2012
RAND Corporation, A Million Random Digits with 100,000 Normal Deviates, 1955
Elaine Reichek, “SETI”, 2004
Sebastian Schmieg, “Search by Image”, 2011-ongoing
Mungo Thomson, “Einstein #1”, 2008
Clement Valla, “Paintings from Wushipu”, 2009
Siebren Versteeg, “doorformsbitman_6000x6000_323 (2×3)”, 2013
This exhibition marks the US debut of artist Boris Meister, and the NYC premiere of recent works by Kyle McDonald, Sebastian Schmieg, Clement Valla and Siebren Versteeg.