Kites & Websites: Evan Roth
Belenius/Nordenhake is proud to present our fourth collaboration with Evan Roth, born 1978, Okemos, MI, USA. For this occasion we will produce an artist book co-published with Aksioma featuring a text by Domenico Quaranta, which will be launched on the opening night of Stockholm Art Week, Tuesday 19/4/2016 18-20:00.
Kites and Websites collects a selection of works developed along the last year in the framework of the Internet Landscapes project, Evan Roth's ongoing investigation into the physical infrastructure of the internet: a research that brought him to study the global submarine fiber optic cable network, and to do pilgrimages to various submarine fiber optic cable landing locations all around the world: from the UK to Sweden and New Zealand.These locations, where the national or local network infrastructure actually joins the global internet, allowing people to instantly communicate with the rest of the world, are often remote locations, not easy to reach and not meant to be visited. The nature is wild, and signs announcing the presence of the cable are placed to be seen from the sea, not by anybody walking on the beach, or the cliffs. In other words, they provide a beautiful opportunity for landscape painting.
And it is as a Romantic painter that Evan Roth approaches these places, even if his tools are a little bit different from those of Turner and alikes. He uses an infrared camera to shoot pictures and videos, and he records audio using an instrumental transcommunication device that he has custom built, that captures ambient sounds and scans radio frequencies at intervals regulated by the artist's heart rate. This recording, though, is not made for documentary purposes. As a romantic "wanderer", Roth travels to these Internet Landscapes to experience them, and portrays them to capture their essence: "For me, visiting the Internet physically is an attempt to repair a relationship that has changed dramatically as the Internet becomes more centralized, monetized and a mechanism for global government spying. Through understanding and experiencing the Internet's physicality, one comes to understand the network not as a mythical cloud, but as a human made and controlled system of wires and computers."
Kites and Websites are the forms that this landscape painting takes in the exhibition. Kites are a reference to childhood innocence, but also to the history of communications: their hexagonal shape reminds the first patent drawing of the internet, and the hexagonal kites used by Guglielmo Marconi to send radio waves. Websites are actually "web sites", places on the network that mirror both visually and conceptually the physical places they portray, in a complexity of layers and references that makes the experience of the project richer as long as we dig deep, but that doesn't prevent us to enjoy it as a simple aesthetic experience: as a exercise in immersion, contemplation and slowness.
The Internet Landscapes project is currently part of the Black Chamber exhibition (Skuc Gallery, Ljubljana) and of the Sydney Biennale, and has been awarded a production grant as part of the Masters & Servers European co-operation project. More info: http://www.mastersandservers.
Evan Roth is an American artist based in Paris whose practice visualizes and archives culture through unintended uses of technologies. Creating prints, sculptures, videos, and websites, his work explores the relationship between misuse and empowerment and the effect that philosophies from hacker communities can have when applied to digital and non-digital systems. His work is in the public collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Israel Museum, and has been exhibited at the CentrePompidou, the Kunsthalle Wien and the Tate. He co-founded the arts organizations Graffiti Research Lab and the Free Art & Technology Lab (F.A.T.). Awards in recognition of his work include the Golden Nica from Prix Ars Electronica, Rhizome/The New Museum commissions and the Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award.http://www.evan-roth.com/