Laughing, in the Mechanism. – Cybernetic Aesthetics

Marcelina Wellmer - 'How to Write' video projection & installation (2012), Courtesy of The WandMarcelina Wellmer – ‘How to Write’ video projection & installation (2012), Courtesy of The Wand

The looming incurrent of cybernetic technology tends not to incite as much laughter as it does fear. Laughing, in the Mechanism. imagines a space where artists bridge the gap between cybernetics and aesthetics; combining traditional artistic methods with technology to meditate upon our digital futures. Max Schreier, from DUVE Berlin, curates this small but tight exhibition that brings together artists from Germany, Latvia and Poland who approach the digital from analogue perspectives (and vice versa).

Through the squat Being John Malkovich-esque door of The Wand await the hypercolor abstract artworks of Stefan Saalfeld. With patterns resembling ‘glitchy’ error screens and distorted frequency waves, Saalfeld works with a myriad of layers in Photoshop to collage and colorize these surprisingly tactile pieces. While digital prints on canvas can elicit technical scepticism from some audiences, Saalfeld’s works retain ambiguous traces of artist’s own hand, made visible through a sea of abstract data.

Stefan Saalfeld - Works from 'Abstract' series (2012), Courtesy of The Wand GalleryStefan Saalfeld – Works from ‘Abstract’ series (2012), Courtesy of The Wand Gallery

The thematic of the intervening human hand is further elaborated on in the work of Viktor Timofeev. Mark making patterns fill his series of four small graphite on paper works; appearing at once as primitive scrawls but also akin to coding language and arrangements of 1s and 0s.

In the adjoining room of the gallery are two installation pieces by Marcelina Wellmer. An abstract monochrome form is oil painted atop a pulsating video projection, conflating two renditions of a scrunched up page from Gertrude Stein’s ‘How To Write’. Arresting the viewer with its hypnotic palpitations, the looped video blurs the line between the painted and the projected. The sound of typing floats out from a keyboard tower that is in conversation with Wellmer’s screen-based work; the audio file is a recording of the artist typing out the same page from Stein’s book.

Laughing, in the Mechanism. is about being caught in the crossfire. Straddling a middle ground between traditional and digital technical skill are artists who realize artworks that pertain both to the human and the digital – cyborgs of art.


Additional Information

The Wand
“Laughing, in the Mechanism.” – GROUP SHOW
Exhibition: Oct. 26 – Dec. 5, 2012
Opening Hours: By appointment only; email to arrange a viewing time.
Location: Paulstr. 34 (click here for map)

More information about the exhibition:

Blog entry by Melissa King in Berlin; Friday, November 9, 2012.

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