A New Multimedia Project of the KUB by Tony Oursler Oursler has developed "LOCK 2,4,6" over a number of years in conjunction with the Kunsthaus Bregenz, and the installation has been designed for and inspired by the provocative building and galleries by architect Peter Zumthor. The artist collaborated with Dan Lloyd, Brownell Professor of Philosophy at Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut, to generate musical compositions based on Functional MRI (Magnetic Resonating Image) readouts of psychological test subjects.
The artwork begins with a simple premise posed by the artist: Did you remember to turn the lights off? This comical and nagging thought which so commonly affects us may be easily dismissed by most yet opens the viewer to a new perspective granting access to the obsessive mind – the one person in fifty who returns to the room and must turn the light on and off over and over.
The concept of the installation is to capture a chain of events, frozen moments interlocking a number of systems: epistemological, social, anatomical, and linguistic. Soliloquies, rituals, and performances are captured in video and projected into a three-dimensional screen space throughout the galleries. The overall effect is immersive, of being caught inside an uncanny system that seeks an impossible balance from drives and compulsions and substances, in the neverending struggle, a doomed enterprise, to arrive at homeostasis. Viewers become part of the art and analytical process by moving from element to element tracing the flow of cause and effect through the various floors.
The ar tist has devised a form of internal logic governing the control for each floor of the KUB. The third floor is pervaded by remote control; the second floor is dominated by physical or haptic control; the first floor is under the influence of compulsive, risk taking and chance control – out of control. The floors are interconnected and cross-contaminated through upward and downward flowing internet images, messages, echoing voices, and phenomenological processes. Liquids of indeterminate qualities are spilled down; raw electric impulses and commands cascade; while totems of pictures and video are precariously stacked floor to ceiling, bricks and mortar are building upward and falling, and cigarette smoke endlessly rises forming ghostly columns.
On the third floor viewers, confronted with a virtual human-scale chorus of video-projected women, are asked to position themselves in relation to a series of pseudo test questions and poetic proclamations. These performances combine with others to humorously reflect varying approaches to categorizing consciousness from Freud to Functional MRI technology. Here the ar tist depicts consciousness as an undifferentiated meandering system of juxtaposed images, actions, and language, electronic devices, neurological diagrams, masks, MRI animations, wallpaper, and a bottle perpetually draining.
On the second floor the viewer is heckled by a projected chorus of colorful drag queens emphasizing the mutability of identity as they sing, "you never had a good image of your self." The "individual" is represented either as a multiplicity in choruses or as a personification of an inanimate object or splintered into details such as fingers, eyes, lips, to form what the ar tist believes to be a contemporary state: the undifferentiated field.
The first floor is characterized by chaos. Here the systems break down, and gravity comes in conflict with liquid pouring from the top resulting in a violent splattering fountain of randomness. In stark contrast to the disturbing subject matter and the landscape of low-level addictions, a group of innocent looking children confront the viewer with a chorus of screams. Brick upon brick, a virtual wall is built, a projected documentation of a mason's meticulous work and, in opposition to gravity, an unceasing exercise in the doomed enterprise of achieving balance. And, so the search for homeostasis prevails, too. Constance DeJong
Tony Oursler LOCK 2,4,6 05 | 10 | 2009 – 17 | 01 | 2010
Tony Oursler has chosen six stills from his recent work series for the KUB Billboards to accompany his exhibition "LOCK 2,4,6," which will be shown simultaneously at the Kunsthaus Bregenz. With each of the six billboards measuring 332 x 332 cm, the artist's message is presented to the public on an overall surface of 66 square meters. With his close-ups of people using ever yday consumer ar ticles like remote controls, scratch cards, or liquid soap, Oursler offers a colorful portrait of today's consumer and media society.
born in New York in 1957, lives and works in New York. 1979 California Institute for the Arts, BFA.; in 1977 founds the punk band "Poetic" with his art school buddies Mike Kelley and John Miller. Exhibitions (selection): Kunstmuseum Bonn (2007); Centre Pompidou, Paris; Whitney Museum, New York (2006); Tate Liverpool (2004); Landesmuseum Joanneum, Graz (2003); Jeu de Paume, Paris (2005); Hirshhorn Museum, Washington D.C. (1998); Museum of Modern Art, New York (1995). The photographer, video, and installation artist is known above all for his dummies, which he creates by projecting faces and bodies onto dolls and stuffed objects and confronting the visitors with their theatrical monologues.