May 01, 2011
Description of the work ” The Logic of Basho < Here’s Looking at You Kid >
Philosopher Jean Baudrillard warned, “we breathe an ether of floating images that no longer bear a relation to any reality whatsoever”. * While much of modern life is mediated through technology, this statement has different connotations when applied to how we experience art. Looking at artwork via documentation or Internet is a common occurrence – most of us will see more art in this manner than in person – but for artist Josefina Posch, there is a risk of losing the significant, firsthand experience when we accept this complacent viewer-ship. As Josefina explains, we encounter the “IRL as opposed to the real “.
In her installation at Röda Sten, she controls our engagement as viewers so that we are aware of the act of looking. The inside of a freestanding, wooden pentagon is closed to us except for small portholes on each side, which we can see through if we kneel down – an act that is simultaneously voyeuristic and submissive. Inside are life-size, idolized forms of a man and a woman made of silicone, which looks similar to flesh, and viewing them feels intimate and forbidden. The sculptures are bathered in ultraviolet light, which the artist chose because it does not register on the RGB color scale used by (digital) photographic devices, and therefore there can be no true reproduction. Near the installation is a video showing close-ups of the figures, a vantage point we cannot have access to, and it encapsulated the frustration and limitations of the mediated experience of an art object.
* Jean Baudrillard, Simulations, trans. Paul Foss, Paul Patton, Philip Beitchman (New York: Semiotext, 1983), p.11.
by Laura Mott, “Clouds of Witness” catalogue text.
The work that I am proposing for the Rencontres Int. Paris/Berlin/Madrid is a projection with sound of the live video feed from an installation that could either be mounted in a small town in rural Sweden or shipped and installed at your venue or a venue of you choice. A custom created software application that utilized a relatively unknown part of Flash 10’s peer-to-peer possibilities allows the live footage from three web cameras to be streamed live over the Internet without having to utilize any expensive or advertisement based Internet TV channels. The application takes the footage from the three cameras and decides what footage is being shown and for how long dictated by a soundtrack dialog created by me. Thus creating a new video piece that can be received in another location.
My idea behind this was to explore new ways of experiencing art installations as an option for shipping actual artwork. It was my intention to see if this set up could be used for artists and art organizations in rural areas to have a presence in metropolitan cultural centers on a relatively small budget. The inspiration came from hearing of the New York Metropolitan Opera’s live streaming of their performances, where audiences can buy tickets in movie theatres e.g here in Sweden to view the performances live. I was curious what it was about the “live” that made it more interesting than to watch a recording of the same Opera and if this “Live” factor could be utilized in the experience of art installations as projections via the Internet as well.
The Logic of Basho «Here’s Looking at You Kid» is a continuation of my ’’ In My Secret Life series. It is the result of my latest project, which I have been working on during my three month artist in residency at Art Space Portsmouth in the UK. While there, I collected fragments of body parts from people of different ages and ethnical backgrounds; all with the aim of creating the stature and composition of the average human being. The approach derives from the techniques used by the great masters of the renaissance, where for instance Leonardo Da Vincis “The Vitruvian Man” was an attempt to re-create the ideal human body. My view on the socially constructed ideals and the correlated notion of beauty is highly relevant to our modern western society.
The dual exhibition names originate from two different sources; on the one hand is Kitaro Nishidas philosophy of “The Logic of Basho”. The second part, «Here’s Looking at You Kid», draws from the movie Casablanca and it is part of a soundtrack that belongs to the exhibition. This soundtrack is a collage of dialogues from the 20 most popular romantic movies of all times as selected by the Motion Picture of America.
The sculptural installation is placed in a pentagon. Through two peepholes, the viewer perceives the naked bodies of a man and a woman; hence turning the very same viewer into a voyeur in the distance. The sculptures are illuminated by an ultraviolet light, chosen by me because it cannot be registered on the RGB scale and thus not “correctly” by any digital media. In other words, my installation can never be reproduced authentically. The exhibition also entails a projection of moving close-ups of the man and woman, which are streamed live from within the four walls. This is made possible by a peer-to-peer system specially developed for me by software engineer and artist Mike Blackman. The system cuts between the moving images from three web-cams located within the installation itself and do so in tune with the soundtrack of the movie dialogues. These projected images are closer to the sculptures than we can ever be as peephole-viewers, creating a frustration and sense of limitation that can only be truly mediated by an art object viewed on location. Artworks are increasingly observed through internet documentation and most people experience art through the internet instead of in real life. The risk of such an alternative way of viewing is that we lose the important and direct experience with the work itself – a fact that I wants to emphasize by engaging the viewer and making them aware of the existence of their vision