ARTICLE BY ARTHUR GLASS [March 3 2010]
In the age of glamour and electronic rave movements such as facebook or twitter, we keep losing track of the invisible movements that surround us on a daily basis. Reflect on an idea. Broadcast it. Once reproduced it will fall into oblivion. Oddly enough, the tragedy of modernity results from the isolation that technology has brought to our formatted lives. We don’t purchase physical records anymore, the cataclysms filtered through the lens of globalized media hardly affect us emotionally, our thoughts don’t interact etc. While the post-dyslexia trauma of reading has morphed into purely technical processing, stilling a constant need for information, our visual sense has adapted to the artificial landscapes of social networking. Structurally, we may remain similar to an individual issued from the 17th century and yet every fiber of our being is wavering of hyperstimulation. In this meaningless scenario, the ravages of mass consumption have turned to stereotypes, leaving us dazzled and highly receptive to its hypnotic effects. Still we remain bodies, always moving according to the rhythms of our everyday life.
The decline of classic patterns of representation that took place in the aftermath of photography has taught us to perceive the work of art from a purely external point of view, comparable to the scientist observing insects through a microscope, the electronic device making up for the anatomic limits of our retinas. In retrospect, centuries of technologic enhancement contributed to this out of body experience that defines the work of art according to the universal laws of the bizarre. Our perception, relentless and precise, documents the aftermath of Copernican heliocentrism and the awakening of the individual to the glauque scenario of a world gone insane. However, the major improvements, which took place in the last decades somewhat reestablished the conscience of a detached sphere where the unimaginable is lurking, in a system that works beyond the patterns of everyday life.
But what if we could transcend the restrictions of human communication determined by the mathematic projections of the ancient Greek? Unable to surpass the limits of human condition, will we remain restless in our Icarian endeavor to fix the transience of all things? From this point of view view, the calculated deviance of the Cartesian system unravels unsuspected options. Enters the WHITE BOX elaborated by luxembourgish artist Nathalie Kerschen. Taking its origins from the young plastician’s obsession with the void - a psychic map enabling an infinite amount of individual projections, the central object appears in the shape of a wooden box, completely insulated at the inside by means of a 10 cm layer of mineral fiber and equipped with a recording and sound broadcasting system that represents a mental apparatus leading the spectator to take part in this journey.
6000 kilometers, 4 weeks and an indefinite amount of random calculations materialized in a box that has the beauty of a diagram. Following a carefully planned trajectory, the artifact travels through the realms of time and space documenting its journey and materializing it in the shape of void recordings, aesthetic microcassettes amplifying the different layers of the void. It then appears that the sound functions as the centerpiece of this conceptual art project in the wake of sound pioneers like John Cage or Max Neuhaus leading the spectator to contemplation by triggering his aurical senses. If we consider the box as a capsule conveying time and space from a point A to a point B, we aren’t far from the Proustian conception of human memory as a psychological trigger enabling us to investigate these areas of existence where the human body can’t proceed any further. Expressing herself by means of temporal categories, the young apprentice in architecture uses sound as a prolific tool of communication establishing an immediate connection between the void, the spectator and the white box.
By sending this box through a determined system of geographical coordinates, the young artist absorbs space and transforms it into a marketable product playing with the rules of modern economics. Mirroring the emptiness that we are facing with every accomplished act, the artist unfolds a polyphonic set of perspectives counter-culturing the insidious objectiveness as witnessed in mainstream press, profoundly infused with unacknowledged opinion. Not only does the box represent an intellectual challenge but it also figures as a passionate scream in our dull existence, opening our minds to the pulse of an accelerated Chicago heart machine.