HF | RG (Harun Farocki | Rodney Graham) / Jeu de Paume, Paris

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information shadows - a brief digest

updated as of : 2015.06


where is the interface? why can't a wall be an interface? how about a space, a void? is that not an interface? things are unfinished. some patterns seem to be emerging. talk is not about the things, object/images or otherwise, that occupy the wall but more about the ideas which surround them. the embedded meaning or rather the residual value which they impart. their place in the context of greater meaning or whether they even have a place within the space they temporarily inhabit? how to transport a viewer elsewhere? i enjoy encountering a space and making decisions in the moment. how much content to include? where should they be positioned? what is their relation to each other? is there one? a minimalist aesthetic? can one object/image carry that much weight? ...

... i was told to wait ...

images below from 'global / local' summer seminar whitecliffe college of arts and design mfa mid-course submission : 2015.02.16-22 : install at Pearce Gallery and SGBR Studio, 130 Georges Bay road, parnell, auckland

Information shadows

Our thirst for knowledge and our appetite for understanding is what has propelled humanity forward. As we continue to broaden the knowledge based economies of our interconnected lives the data and information we manufacture acts as a conduit where the content we exchange contains a new form of labour. This ‘user activated labour’ results from a transaction where the value of exchange is not immediately one of economics but rather an exchange of information ripe for harvesting. Objects and resources are embedded with an information shadow and as we engage with our data driven society we extend the value of any given resource beyond its sole purpose as a commodity. The information presented here acts as a mediating point and seeks to explore the possibilities where concepts and ideas might exist beyond the boundaries of their function and intent. The accompanying QR codes link to a digital space where ideas exist in another dimension. These black and white cryptographs act as an interface between a physical world and the digital universe.

You will need to download a QR reader to your device to scan and follow the links.


update: 2015.06

This project began as the Data Syphons project.01 on blended-theory. It has since been absorbed into the transparency in exile: eighty-eight or there abouts project. They straddle the same subject matter and as these projects continue to be refined they will migrate into more specific lines of inquiry.

Simon Starling – In Speculum at City Gallery, Wellington

projectformasquerade_2 [image] Simon Starling, Project for a Masquerade (Hiroshima) 2010. Courtesy Casey Kaplan, New York.

There is no denying Simon Starling’s ability to tell a story; his works evoke the image of the pseudo-scientist raconteur, tweed jacket and all, explaining his latest inventions and in true Umberto Eco fashion, Starling is able to weave the most delicate of threads to present his audience with a narrative which is intricately connected, ingeniously assembled, carefully constructed and meticulously presented. There is a theatrical stage-like quality to his installations and as you approach from the foyer of the City Gallery, you are immediately asked to make some decisions in terms of where to start. There are no way-finding devices or clever prompts to guide you, and as you enter either one of the assigned ‘rooms’ you step into the magical world of Starling’s research and investigations, metaphors and symbols, double meanings and multiplicities.

His installations are traditional in the sculptural sense, three dimensional objects in the round but at times Starling steps into the role of film maker and director where the moving image is used as a technique to explain the genesis behind some of the works. These films become art works in themselves and they accompany the objects presented where they interconnect seamlessly within the larger story adding another layer to the complex narratives within Starling’s work. Film or video installations often can be a contentious medium for a gallery setting, but Starling’s ability to hold his audience through the use of the narrator’s voice, which acts as an authoritative link similar to a David Attenborough voiceover, connects the documentary with the narrative, the scientific with the fantasy, and teases his audience into his works through the universal bond of voice and language.

As you move from room to room, Starling takes you deeper and deeper into his research as the meaning behind each installation reveals itself. Meandering through each of the rooms you find yourself in a loop where you must then track back, experiencing the works again, from a different angle or in reverse. This technique sets-up an interaction with the viewer which suggests that the story has not concluded or that there may be deeper meanings to be considered. Starling develops a relationship between his audience and his works which establishes an ongoing dialogue, opens up a discourse and initiates pathways for new discoveries. The convention for artists is to allow an audience to interpret their creations through the viewers own experience but Starling’s approach is the reverse, he presents his audience with his research and exposes the thinking behind his works with evidence which support his theories and allows for further investigations into his recurring themes which are evident throughout all of Starling’s works.

In Project for a Masquerade (Hiroshima) Starling presents his audience with a theatrical proposition whereby the characters step out from the stage and become participants in the audiences’ experience. A room or chamber sets the scene as you approach. Two solitary figures face each other. They occupy the space which acts as an anti-chamber, a sacred entrance from which the haunting sounds of the Japanese noh-kan, a bamboo flute used in hayashi-kata (instrumental arrangements for Noh plays), is over-laid with the voice of a narrator which is audible in the adjoining room. These figures are minimalist in structure, iron skeletal framed tripods which stand in perfect counterpoise. Polished amorphous wooden objects attached to elongated necks act as heads. They resemble masks and the negative spaces stare at you ominously. These sentinels dare the viewer to pass by them, watched, and to witness the rites occurring in the sacrificial chamber.

Upon entering the chamber, the glow of the screen fills a large room and you are quickly consumed by the voice, the repetitive motions of a wood carver’s hands (depending at which point you joined in of course) and the “fictional story [of] Eboshi-ori, the 16th century Japanese tale of a noble boy” (Leonard, 2014, p. 37) begins to unfold itself. The film goes on to tell the story behind the tale itself and it introduces us to the characters, the premise for the play and as a result the history behind the sentinel masks you first encountered in the anti-chamber is revealed. Through watching the film you discover the weave that Starling has created and his ability to allude to the interconnected world of stories, experiences, political events, entertainers, science, theater and craft is manifested through the making of the masks. Starling’s work contains a variety of parallel themes running in conjunction and although the subject matters portrayed are of a catastrophic world changing historical event, his whimsical approach to the re-telling of the Noh story is eased on to us through the most unlikely cast of characters assembled, including James Bond, Colonel Saunders, Enrico Fermi, Anthony Blunt, Joseph Hirschhorn, and Henry Moore’s (who also has a dual role) Nuclear Energy/Atom Piece disguised as Ushiwaka (Leonard, p. 40). They all take part to portray a fictional cold war trial involving multiple identities, espionage, deceit and the exploits of science, art and commerce in the evolution of the atom bomb, and, all of this told through the lens of the Polish American street gang, Chicago’s the Back of the Yards Boys who act as the film makers.

These complex story lines are typical of Starlings’ works which are anchored in his concerns for the future of humanity and he expresses these ideologies through the reinterpretation of historical and scientific moments in time; yet what intrigues me most in Starling’s work is his ability to meld the audiences senses’ into a gallery experience; not only through the scope of his topics but also through his ability to play with the layers of cognitive intuition and interpretation through the intersection and cross-over of human perception and consciousness.

Sight and intellect play the major roles in this theatrical experience and the visual experience is stimulated in a varying of perceptible ways in varying dimensions. The written descriptions and the exhibition catalogue act as companions to the pieces and allow the audience to participate in the experience through a deeper understanding but sound acts as the conduit to reason and throughout this exhibition sound is evident everywhere. Not every piece is activated through sound but as a result of proximity there is always some sort of reverberation present. Whether it’s the whir of the bespoke film projector, the clanking of metal, the voice of the narrator, the hum of the projectors fan, the haunting sounds of distant cultures or the resonance of the machines that define their makers, their rhythmic patterns are always present. These incessantly audible sounds entice the viewer further into each of Starling’s pieces. They act as navigational devices which prompt the audience to inquisitively explore further; they assist the audience in accessing the same connections that Starling uses in the making of his works, in a similar way to that youthful exuberance of someone calling out to you from deep within the forest, beckoning you to come and see what they have found and wanting to share in the thrill of their discoveries. Yet another layer in Starling’s repertoire of emotional threads where truth and fiction come together to spin another tale of wonderment and disbelief.

Reference Leonard, R. (2013). Please explain. In Simon Starling: In Speculum [Exhibition Catalogue] (pp. 23-51). Wellington, New Zealand: City Gallery Wellington Te Whare Toi.

Cover image: Simon Starling 2010. Still from Project For A Masquerade (Hiroshima),16 mm film transferred to HD. Duration: 25:54 minutes. Retrieved from:

Daan Roosegaarde

Daan Roosegaarde creates interactive projects which blurs the line between art, technology and sense. His team of designers and engineers develop their own bespoke technology and his works encourages users and viewers to interact with the pieces. This interactivity is as much part of the works as is the visual aesthetic and the potential of commercialization is never too far from his intent.  His studio resembles a science lab where his team experiment, observe and investigate and is where "the studio creates interactive designs that explore the dynamic relation between people, technology and space." Retrieved from


Artist and innovator Daan Roosegaarde (1979) is internationally known for creating social designs that explore the relation between people, technology and space. His Studio Roosegaarde is the social design lab with his team of designers and engineers based in the Netherlands and Shanghai.

With projects ranging from fashion to architecture his interactive designs such as DuneIntimacy and Smart Highway are tactile high-tech environments in which viewer and space become one. This connection, established between ideology and technology, results in what Roosegaarde calls 'techno-poetry'. Retrieved from

Images :

Dune - 2006-2012. Specifications : Modular system of length 100 cm, width 50 cm, variable heights. Hundreds of fibers, LEDs, sensors, speakers, interactive software and electronics; variable up to 400 meters.

Intimacy - 2010-2011. Specifications :  ʻBlackʼ and ʻWhiteʼ dresses, length 100cm, width 40 cm. Smart foils, wireless technologies, electronics, LEDs, copper and other media.

Flow - 2007-2013. Specifications :  Modular system of several meters with hundreds of ventilators, aluminum, sensors, electronics, software and other media.

Esther Shalev-Gerz

Picture 19

Esther Shalev-Gerz states "All my work is based on the potentiality of trust" (Shalev-Gerz, 2013). Her projects often express the narrative of a time forgotten which she then reinterprets as slices of time in the present. She has described the importance of memory in her works as an integral aspect of her site specific installations. The relationship between object and environment is how those moments are defined. Individuals who occupy the space in the past talk about their experience and their relationship with not only the physical space but the intent of the space and their interaction with others who use those same spaces.

Though we rarely speak of trust in relation to art, a work of art may well be the ultimate expression of trust. It is as if we trust, for instance, that some inked piece of paper or painted canvas will receive us and speak truly about our world and its own. It is this space of trust that enables dialogue to unfold. Dialogue is a group of people freely reaching a place and verbally exchanging thoughts in a present and immediate way whilst listening, not only to others but also to themselves with others, then coming together and exchanging again, and after having left, coming together yet again. Such gathering is never spontaneous; still, it must be proposed. (Esther Shalev-Gerz, The Trust Gap (2013). Retrieved from • /

“I do think all art springs out from an invitation, real or imaginary” (Esther Shalev-Gerz, 2010).

Artist's talk with Esther Shalev-Gerz at the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, January 12, 2013.

The Artwork as an Act of Memory

For over 20 years her work has focused on interventions and projects in public space, taking the form of collaboration and exchange with the audience. Her installations and photographic work raise questions on group memory and its interaction with personal history and souvenir. In these commemorative monuments, installations, video and photographic works, questions about history are posed, and its relationship with collective memory is explored and investigated. Esther Shalev-Gerz: The Artwork as an Act of Memory. 2001 by: Contemporary Past. Retrieved from:

[vimeo 27525041 w=500 h=281]

Esther Shalev-Gerz: The Artwork as an Act of Memory from Contemporary Past on Vimeo.

Resources / images :

Cover image: DAEDAL(US), 2003. Intervention and Installation. Dublin, Ireland. Still image projections variable dimensions. 15 colour photographs - 65 cm x 53 cm. 15 diasec-mounted colour photographs – 108 cm x 80 cm.

INSEPARABLE ANGELS: AN IMAGINARY HOUSE FOR WALTER BENJAMIN, 2000. Installation. Collection of the Wanås Foundation, Knislinge, Sweden. 1 Double-faced clock - 60 cm. Double-seated chair – 82 cm x 65 cm x 43 cm.

BOOKS INHALED BY THE SKY, 1998. Video Projection - 14 mn.