by Kate Richards
As an eighties child, the idea of a video telephone call seemed a distant fiction of cartoons like the Jetsons, alongside hover-boards and robot housekeepers. Technologies readily surpass imagined future possibilities, and once manifested transform our psychological sense of the world and ourselves. We have become accustomed to knowing earth’s minutiae surveyed and transposed upon distant screens, facilitated by the omnipresent eye of Google within a nebulas expanse of infinitely accessible information. Experience of place is disembodied by such mobilised visions of the globe. However, aspects of dissonance emerge between the ontologies that bookend such vast technological change.
The fourth collection of works within the Bivouac series, explores this juncture; between the experience of a physical site and encounter with constructions of place through far-flung media sources.
Bivouac 4 maps a terrain beyond the familiar. The four artists represented display work of a medium that they are less habituated to. By imposing conditions of personal discomfort the artists situate themselves within the uncomfortable truths they depict. Their generous gestures serve to acknowledge our collective vulnerability, and the susceptibly of human minds bamboozled by a changing landscape of information distribution.
Mark T Walker’s Centrasia 3B, a moving-image of an ostensibly anonymous cityscape with cars hastily commuting upon a freeway, provokes the viewer to seek a reference of place. Dated cars, an unfamiliar flag (to myself anyhow), the pointed tones of the sound score, are potential clues for an image that seemingly could be anywhere. Two photographic works on steel; Tehran Black, Tehran White adopt a commercial production technique of signage to semantically signpost the location of Walker’s examination of place. The juxtaposition of black and white within these photographic works is the artist’s play upon the viewers mind; having conjured a sense of familiarity through video of the Arab world, he asks us to question the polarity of preconceived notions constructed from afar.