"The _ _ _ _ _ is absent"
Galerie Christophe Tailleur at PULSE Miami Beach | December 1 - December 4, 2016
The _ _ _ _ _ is absent explores the concepts of presence and absence in the post-Internet age through a series of sculptures, text works, neons, videos and digital prints, inviting us to investigate this new state of “semi-presence” that we find ourselves in, where we constantly try to negotiate our identity between analogue and digital self.
New technologies have placed us in a universal predicament; we function within simultaneous planes of existence, we co-exist in analogue and virtual worlds, disassociated from our own bodies, fragmented in space and time. The phone (ie. _ _ _ _ _) ultimately serves as a gateway to this physical absence. At any given time and without further notice, it can withdraw us from the “here” and the “now” - the present moment of the material world. We vanish into this digital place, this intangible 'non-place'.
In What is left of…, the artist illustrates this transformation of the notions of physical time and space with a series of seven new text-based works. Kosmatopoulos appropriates seven basic and simple words attached to these concepts and, using the visual codes of a hangman game, replaces the vowels with dashes. The physical manifestation of the words is transformed in the process as are the definition of the concepts they represent in the post-Internet age.
The exhibition continues with SOMEW#HERE, a series of five new neon works that invite the viewer to revisit the meaning of the word "here" and re-examine the core concepts of presence and absence in light of the changes new technologies have brought upon the definition of the self. In this series, the artist invents a new word - #HERE - a word referring to this place of ‘non-place’ that is the digital world. She appropriates simple sentences found in dictionaries to exemplify the use of the word "here", and simply replaces it in them with "#HERE".
The neon sculpture <3 bit hints towards the new emotional relationship we have created with our communication devices, alluding to how technology has taken an all-new meaning, as machines play a greater role in our day-to-day lives; progressively becoming an extension of our own identity.
CLiMAX is a bodies of four new video works that look at the emotional relationship we have developed with our cell phone and the quasi-continuous tactile connection we have established with it. The artist determined four main gestures we daily perform on the phone screen and, in each video, mechanically executes one of them in loop for 5 minutes without holding the phone itself. By removing the technological device, she isolates the movement and revealed the obvious and somehow disturbing sensuality of it.
The exhibition also includes nine sculptures from the growing bodies of works 15 pairs of mouths where, throughout her travels, residencies and international projects, the artist has been inviting people to cast theirs hands mimicking the way their are texting. Each pair of plaster hands collected comes to question the relationship between the human body and technological devices, exploring the new role of the hand - a vehicle for communication in the post-Internet age.
Last, we find six digital prints from the project SIRI&ME,an art experiment launched in 2013 that translates the formula of traditional storytelling onto a cross-social-media platform. Each episode consists of a screenshot from a text conversation between iPhone’s Siri and the phone’s owner, Esmeralda. Categorized into three seasons of ten episodes each, the virtual sitcom investigates the complex relationship humans develop with technology through the ever evolving friendship of its two protagonists – Siri and Esmeralda.
Nathaniel Ainley, "From Idea to Installation, Go Inside the Practice of a Conceptual Artist" (video interview), Creators Project, December 6, 2016
Charlotte Boutboul, "EXPLORING PULSE MIAMI BEACH’S NORTH AND SOUTH TENTS", Whitewall, December 1, 2016
"The Smartphone Is Absent | Perspectives, Esmeralda Kosmatopoulos", Creators Project, November 30, 2016