Employing a formal vocabulary that can be related to Russian Constructivism and Minimalism Philippe Decrauzat breaks from the rigid rules often connected to these art historical movements and creates a visually and spatially engaging environment. Philippe Decrauzat’s installation A Square, a black and white grid covering a large portion of the walls of the space, transforms the whole setting and turns the exhibition theme into a bodily experience and immerses the exhibited works in its abstracted language.
Both Harm van den Dorpel and Lars Holdhus have created installations that relate computational processes to art objects. Van den Dorpel makes use of algorithms to co-direct his work, outsourcing the choices to a self-evolving system able to foster new visual connections between the holdings of its database. Produced in situ at the Istituto Svizzero in Milano, Incompatibility Representation is made from various plastics and custom printed heat shrink foil, often used in packaging of disposable consumer goods. Hung in space in the form of a node-line system, it formally relates to a structure found in many contexts, such as in synapses of the brain, highways of automobile transportation, or even constellations of stars. Even though in many different contexts similar structures like these can be found, these systems can often not be connected to one another as the points of connection between one ‘reality’ or ‘currency’ do not fully touch, overlap, or transform into each another. While alluding to this incompatibility on a formal level, the installation materializes, through the processes and materials employed, the collapse of different systems of encoding.
Lars Holdhus three parts installation relates to how computers read visual information and process images. The artist has dissected the process of reading algorithmically a painting; he questions the human-machine-human interaction and the ways of looking at an artwork and re-producing that which is seen. Taking the forgotten oeuvre of artist Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven titled Forgotten Like This Parapluie Am I by You (1923–24) as a starting point, he applied different techniques to mechanically decode it. Freytag-Loringhoven, to whom the first readymade is attributed to, lived a precarious life, never receiving the attention nor recognition that other male artists around her attained. Holdhus takes up her forgotten oeuvre and exposes it to a different kind of reading: that of computer vision. After having different computational techniques interpreting her work, Holdhus fed this information back into the medium of painting and a video.
How material objects and things relate to the economic substructure is what Femke Herregraven’s and Katharina Fengler’s works question. In Katharina Fengler’s paintings the relation between consumer object and abstraction is addressed by bringing together the lush, commercial photographic images of chocolate bars with the abstraction of airbrushed watercolor. Entitled Eddie Bernays after Sigmund Freud’s nephew (who was famously declared the inventor of modern PR in Adam Curtis’ documentary The Century of the Self) her series connects to how consumer products become objects of desire. While alluding to the notion of how an abstracted system fed by capitalism and informed by psychology creates, navigates and manipulates our cravings for things, the paintings become objects of desire in their own right.
Femke Herregraven’s work on the other hand, turns to probably one of the most opaque, automated and sped-up processes of the present moment: high-frequency trading. In her work, the Dutch artist gave the ultrafast financial transactions of computational trading a material form and physical presence. In the tradition of the tally sticks – ancient objects, such as bones and wooden sticks made to record value and transactions – the work Rogue Waves consists of a series of engraved metal sticks. They each carry the cut-out of a trading pattern connected to a specific event in which algorithms illegally manipulated financial markets through quote stuffing, spoofing gold prices and stock manipulation.
Pierre Lumineau’s text Rising Automated Reasoning is an interpretation of the exhibition’s theme and the works on view. His reduced language is informed by techniques such as auto-translate and Google queries. Employing these techniques, he willingly defers decisions to automated processes.