Reflected in the virtual hall of mirrors we journey (or fall) from Kleist’s “Locked and bolted paradise” to earth, with its “leaky promiscuity”, simulations, and filtering systems. The “dirt and grime” that Laurie Anderson once complained was missing from Cyberspace. We must look for a back door to paradise and employ the shadow skills of the lock-crackers, chancers, and pickpockets to get us in. Once inside, we find we have arrived at “The antipodes of the antipodes” it is a mise en abyme, and the clue to its Drostean nature is contained on the self-reflexive label of a cocoa package.
Recently I was invited by Josephine Bosma to exhibit in ‘Appearances’ the fifth exhibition’ of upstream.gallery Online platform. She selected this work Self Portrait (mirror) (2020) . The video is shot at Tessellated Pavements in Tasmania, an extremely uncanny location, for me, a mysterious labyrinth, a platform to the underworld whose entrance I am yet to find. Standing behind a mirror, holding it, I am attempting to use it as a cypher, a key to pick the lock to a backdoor. The mirror, in this case is a type of threshold, or door. A back door is often a clandestine entrance, deliberately left in place by engineers or technicians for ease of access.Historically mirrors have formed part of systems and machinery used for channeling messages from one entity or dimension to another; for instance to reflect and transmit signals over a distance to a remote presence, including the stars and other worlds. Performing with the mirror I have to make sure I am continuously present, that is, I am just and solely concerned with the things I am doing in the moment. Yet simultaneously I am absent because my whole being is taken up by holding the mirror. I do not perceive myself as somebody. Meanwhile I am there. I am where I am supposed to be. I am only with what I do. The power of the mirror lies in the absence of its looker, the absence of its own. But the mirror is intelligent; the mirror doesn’t want to reveal its secret too easily. The mirror is beautiful and all one has to do is to admire its fascinating beauty of reflection. Because of its beauty one tends to forget that the true fascination of the mirror lies beyond all matter, all beauty and all action. Jean Cocteau’s (1950) film ‘Orphée’, also uses mirrors as the doors to the underworld. On arrival Orphée asks; “Where are we? Do all mirrors lead to this zone?” A gatekeeper elicits a response, “Life takes long to die. It’s the zone…made of memories and the ruins of human habit.” In ‘Self Portrait’ I wish to pass over the individual. How much can the ‘I’ disappear behind the actions and the endless number of noises that want to bring to life all that is not me?
Online platform upstream.gallery proudly presents its fifth exhibition
Curated by Josephine Bosma
26 September – 24 October 2020
Addie Wagenknecht, Annie Abrahams & Daniel Pinheiro, Amy Alexander, Claudia Del & Jaume Clotet, Evelina Domnitch & Dimitry Gelfand, Knowbotiq Research, Nancy Mauro-Flude, PolakVanBekkum, Stephanie Syjuco, Valentina Gal, Winnie Soon
Online Opening, Saturday September 26th, 17.00 (CEST)
appearance | əˈpɪər(ə)ns |
1 the way that someone or something looks: she checked her appearance in the mirror.
• an impression given by someone or something: she read it with every appearance of interest.
2 an act of performing or participating in a public event: he is well known for his television appearances.
3 an act of arriving or becoming visible: the sudden appearance of her daughter startled her.
• a process of coming into existence or use: the appearance of the railway.
Appearances exist on the edge of reality and perception. Appearances can be sudden or take their time to show. They can be lasting, decaying or downright misleading. We often see what we want to see. We more often see what we expect to see. Most of the time the poetry of that situation escapes us.
Appearances in the Greater Cloud
The information society is also the society of the shattered mirror and the fractured lens. Countless reflections of and on the real make up a large labyrinth of fragmented truths, half-truths and fictions. Together they form a beautiful but also daunting abyss of appearances. The technological means surrounding us create an extreme density of these reflections, which in turn impacts on existence itself. New perception and navigational skills need to be learned. Of these, basic mechanical skills are relatively easy to obtain, but for a profound understanding, of what we see and how and why we see it, we need different kinds of skillsets. One important thing we still lack in this context is a new, extended form of intuition, a non-verbal knowledge grown from extensive, genuinely authentic experiences of various network modalities. This exhibition offers a range of them. It shows a variety of ways artists use the Greater Cloud, the mother of all networks and cloud platforms: the internet.
Josephine Bosma (1962) is a freelance critic and theorist working in the expanded field of art and new media. She is specialized in art and the Internet, and lectures and publishes internationally. In 2011 NAi/Institute for Network Cultures published Josephine Bosma’s book Nettitudes – Let’s Talk Net Art.