Spooky Action at a Distance, Nanna Stjernholm Jepsen(Download PDF)
According to philosopher, physicist and feminist Karen Barad the concept of ‘quantum entanglement’, in a ghostly sense, offers disorienting perspectives of the discontinuity of time, space and matter and gives reason to ask whether our lineary understanding of space and time, history and nature is to be narrated otherwise. As we are starting to recognize the effects of the Anthropocene era – that man-made technology radically changes not only the climate, but also our understanding of what it means to be a sentient human being – we are slowly moving towards a decentering of man and an understanding of our part, as a species, in a larger system.
In the 21st century the spread of the internet has opened digital platforms that displace and abolish site specificity, distance and time differences orientate us towards the processual and the network-based. Vast information flows have become an integrated part of our biotope as our bodies fuse with smartphones and other devices that establish parallel, virtual existences in front of and through screens, blurring the boundary between the physical and the virtual. We are experiencing a shift from an object-based understanding of art to a more network-based aesthetic in a move towards the re-materialisation of the internet.
The exhibition ‘Spooky Action at a Distance’ presents works by artists Amalie Smith, Amitai Romm, David Stjernholm, Rasmus Myrup and Valérie Collart. The invited artists work with sculpture, installation and digital works to investigate the relationship between physical and digital spaces, and the embodiment of information and transitions between the two, three and four dimensional.
The video works ‘Serpent and Twisted Column’ by Valérie Collart take issue with traditional views of the artwork as either a spatial object or an image surface. Instead Collart reflects on the potential that exists in the transition and meeting between media. The works are created using photo documentation of existing or fictive sculptures, 3D generated imagery, as well as scans of painted textures. Collart’s works extend beyond spatial and temporal dimensions in a constant fluctuation between flatness, illusion and surfaces.
The temporary architectural interference ‘Exfoliation’ by Amitai Romm exploits a literal short-cut between two dimensional surface and three dimensional form, to create a series of transportable and adaptable parasites on the gallery space that equally interpret and measure it. Made from laser-cut sandpaper, they seek to estrange both their own material and semiotic properties and their institutional contexts by virtue of a simple circular diagram that is cut,
distorted, linked and dispersed.
For the double video projection ‘Michankos’ Amalie Smith has worked with a contemporary dancer to interpret a Greek folk dance first developed as a response to the many cases of divers’ disease on the Greek islands in the late 19th century. The dancer in Smith’s video wears a motion capture suit that tracks her movements and animates a digital figure of a diver on the bottom of the sea. The videos play from two Raspberry Pi computers connected by an ethernet cable, with one computer adjusting to sync with the other.
In his site specific sculptures ‘Blocking Formation of Processed Wood
and Geological Material (After Castor)’, made of coloring pencils and lava rocks, Rasmus Myrup hijacks the strategy that beavers employ in the production of dams by examining, and translating it. Myrup reduces their emblematic dams to their most denoted form, and produces a Homo Sapiens Sapiens version of their non-human expression, the beaver dam.
David Stjernholm’s work ‘Gone Phishing’ is a series of wall hung traps containing pneumatic tubes suspended in midair. Inside each tube are shredded documents picked up on the streets of the financial district in Osaka, Japan. Gone Phishing resembles how information on the internet is being divided into smaller units, encrypted, sent, and seconds later retrieved by the receiver, and how vulnerable and exposed data is when in this in-between state.
The question of how we relate to the physical and digital layers of reality is an issue of relevance, especially when it comes to the perception of art, often consumed through digital representation. The rhizomatic structure of the internet simultaneously connects and disrupts us all and the endless browsing and staggered emails across time zones has been a constant player in the planning and the concept of the exhibition.
This project weaves two independent exhibition spaces together: ‘Værelset’ (the Room), a temporary exhibition space based in Copenhagen, and Bus Projects in Melbourne. ‘Spooky Action at a Distance’ is the final stage of the exchange project between the two. In 2014 I invited Kim Brockett to curate a show for ‘Værelset’. It led to the site specific show held in a half globe, as if by cupped hands by Kate Meakin and Virginia Overell in May 2015. Since then, Kim and I have been planning a reciprocal exhibition of Danish artists in Melbourne.
Therefore I especially want to thank Kim Brockett for her unquenchable optimism and everlasting trust in the project. Also a special thanks to Bus Projects for the invitation and for making the project possible.
On behalf of the artists, my sincere thanks to The Danish Arts Foundation, Dannebrog Foundation and Avnede Fonden for their support of this exhibition, as well as Creative Partnerships Australia and the donors who supported the Australian exhibition in Denmark. This project would not have been possible without their involvement, generosity and vision.
- Nanna Stjernholm Jepsen, Melbourne 2016