The installation is comprised of four main line segments that overfill the gallery: Two train rails put directly on the floor and two utility poles connected to the local power grid that, in turn, brings energy to the sodium light bulbs – the actual lightning of the exhibition. These strong lines cut the gallery through, surpassing walls and ceilings, and evoke the Cartesian plane: the rails and poles play the role of the x and y axes of a graph, transfiguring the exhibition space into a geometric cube, the area of mathematical abstraction and rationalization.
Issues of scale, space and bodily perception arise here. When the spectator enters the gallery, the mere presence of the wooden pole makes the eyes immediately go up. The sight is constantly driven up and down, far and close, and the visitor is impelled to connect the lines and points, seeking for a sense. Even a complete mental image of the whole Landscape is an impossible task, for the poles, rails and wiring do not fit the gallery: the site specific Landscape exceeds the site.
The wooden poles and bare rails remind of the early processes of mechanical development and modernization. Electricity is brought from the street, contaminating the fray space with the urbanicity of a megacity like São Paulo. It spreads itself and invades each and every location, thus interrupting any possibility of isolation and suffocating spaces of subjectivity.
Otavio Schipper Otavio Schipper (Brazil, 1979) holds a degree in Physics from Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro and has received the 2015 Fellowship from the Akademie der Künste Berlin.
In 2015 the artist has presented the installation Smoking Mirror at the Schering Stiftung in Berlin, and has shown his work at the exhibition Dessiner l’Invisible, organized by Fondation Mindscape, in Paris.
In 2014, Schipper has presented the installations Mechanical Unconscious at MOT International in London, Pocket Landscape at Galeria Millan in São Paulo, and Elevator Music at die Raum in Berlin.
He participated in the following exhibitions: The Wizard's Chamber (Winterthur Kunsthalle, 2013), Nova Arte Nova (Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil RJ / SP, 2008), and Arte Brasileira Hoje (Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro and Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, 2005). In 2013, he presented the installation The Trial, developed during his time in residence at Residency Unlimited, New York, USA.
Art Positions | Miami Beach Art Basel
This installation is presented in a prepared acoustic space where various types of tuning forks are suspended by steel cables. The sculptures, cast in bronze from computer generated models, measure from 25 to 150 centimeters in height, exploring the nature of silence and the memory of sound. Dim lighting helps to activate the sculpture’s presence and setting.
The experience of sound is put within the field of silence, subverting the use of the tuning fork. In “Empty Voices”, this tool that dates back to the 18th century, normally used as a standard of pitch to tune musical instruments, evocates the absence of any possibility of music. Yet, in the absence of material sound, one might actually perceive even louder noises. Is it the memory of sound? Are those the “inner-voices”? Does the unconscious shout amidst complete silence?
The Speed of Light
Composed by three telegraph keys connected by steel cables, several metronome pendulums and antique monocles, “The speed of light” presents a poetic reconstruction of an apparatus designed to measure the speed of light, using an early telegraph system. It promotes a reflection about the materials and concepts involved in the transmission of information and the obsession with measuring.
Galeria Anita Schwartz | MOT International
The Mechanical Unconscious
The exhibition space resembles that of an empty and abandoned albeit fully functioning laboratory. The works are mechanisms; at first sight, they are utterly anachronistic. The scene possesses a dreamlike quality. But what type of experiment is there in unceasing execution if the mechanisms appear to have taken on a crazed, disordered life of their own as redress for their utilitarian obsolescence, disobliged from their corresponding function the irrational revenge of the machines? How could we have kept up our relationships to these strange things for so long? This thing that, up until a while ago, had been a telephone what is it now? A curious object, possibly, but no more. In Chaplin's Modern Times, man struggled with enormous mechanical machines. Nowadays he does not even do that. The thing that threatened Charlie has hidden itself. It has vanished from sight to become possibly even more threatening. So this exhibition suggests the drawing of a parabola: the sonorous evocation of mechanical life through contemporary technology. The digital signs, the synthesized voices and the electronic noises that ring incessantly and madly mimic the paraphernalia of sound that surrounds us, like a continuous, insistent and fruitless prayer to the mechanical unconscious. The litany of sounds would awaken those mechanisms, bring them back from their sleep, restore them to existence and remind us of alienation, yet these noises also happen to be the infernal din of that which we call progress, which gives life while simultaneously annihilating it.
text by Paulo Venancio Filho
Created by visual artist Otavio Schipper and musician Sergio Krakowski, the installation consists of a dialogue between old-fashioned telegraph machines, synthetic voices and telephone sounds. Recorded with the assistance of software for the visually impaired, the voices read scientific articles, academic theses, codes in abstract languages and long lists of numbers in several languages. The telegraph machines and an old incandescent light bulb are activated by the voice rhythms according to the sound level in the room.