Excerpt from “-./,” 2005

Original:
-./, 2005
Video, (black & white, sound)
6 minutes, looped

Andrés Ramírez Gaviria translates the index of Point and Line to Plane (1926) by Wassiliy Kandinsky into an audio-visual image via Morse code. This code emerges as a flickering pattern of images, misleading the viewer to believe there is an error in signal transmission. The visible area and the audible space are designed in a way that precludes any decoding of the sequence of signs. The linear rationalization, the original purpose of their creation, is taken away. The work can be described as code criticism. In the modified arrangement of this visual and acoustic code, a Morse-image emerges - another paradox. It is not interference, but an interruption of one kind of linearity for another.Through this linearity we realize that we have to learn anew to see dynamic parallel fields and abrupt line jumps as connected. In the work of Andrés Ramírez Gaviria, basic principles of rationality arise, which assume linearity, while emphasizing the compositions of complexities and herewith underline that plane and space have to be perceived, conceptualized and designed, if they are to explain and animate the dynamics of digital processes. In -./ Gaviria shows a transition from Morse code, the communicational instrument, to mediality. This mediality poses the challenge not to pass on stretching the information flood through new linearity and thus lose its context, but to understand and live the world as complex, scaled and non-scaled networks. – Manfred Fassler

 

 

Original:
0.
2007
HD video (color, silent)
4 minutes, looped

0. (pronounced zero point), suggests a small quantity between something and nothing but not yet a whole number, a fraction that defies the geometric perfection of the archetypal minimalist cube. Although Gaviria’s cube seems a quotation of the movement’s obsession with pristine, commercially manufactured, 3D geometric forms, the work occupies the spaces of neither painting nor sculpture. Following the logic of conceptual art but using the medium of video, the artist has dematerialized the object, which exists now as a projected moving image. The image itself, however, does not perceptibly move until the last few seconds of its four-minute duration and thus, asserts an ineluctable presence, an idealized proposition of eternality. Shot in HD high-speed digital video, the temporal dimension of the work is indeterminate and highly confounded: what appears to be a still image is, in fact, time stretched. At first, one sees only a 2D image of a glass box flattened on the screen. Then, suddenly, the glass walls begin to implode in slow motion as their hyaline shards are sucked in. These shards then explode outwards as the cube silently shatters and crashes to the ground, its former shape reduced to a pile of rubble and a black steel frame. This spectacular climax is unique in Gaviria’s work, which tends to flow consistently with subtle modulations and which is devoid of a distinct beginning or end. Historically akin to Gustav Metzger’s theories of autodestructive art (1959) and Jean Tinguely’s self-destructing sculpture “Homage to New York” (1960), this dramatic event subverts the logic of minimalism by – irony of ironies – pushing to unimagined heights the theatricality that so perturbed Fried. The idyllic, autonomous, minimalist object – and, by extension, the ideological and aesthetic values associated with it – have metaphorically imploded. At the same time, this destructive and deconstructive act recapitulates those ideals: Gaviria’s cube is perfect and commercially manufactured; the filming was similarly outsourced to a professional cinematographer; the engineering was aided by a physicist; and numerous experiments were conducted to choose the proper glass and regulate the vacuum pressure to achieve a consistent implosion from multiple walls of the cube. In other words, 0. is a highly aestheticized film object that was made possible only through an extraordinary degree of precision, resulting in a perfect, idealized implosion. Herein lies perhaps the most important component of the work’s Gestalt: the pairing of a critique of idealized form by its destruction with the presentation of an idealized form of destruction. It is in this interplay of conflicting significations that the work accrues added meaning. 

– Edward Shanken

 
 

 

Winking Girl, 2013
4k video (black & white, silent)
12 seconds, looped

The cartoon girl "Nefertiti" winks periodically in subtle defiance. Taken from the pages of Ivan Sutherland’s 1963 PhD thesis titled “Sketchpad, A Man-Machine Graphical Communication System”, the image of “Nefertiti” is an early illustration of the “artistic” convenience of copying an image or parts of it, instantly, multiple times with the aid of a computer program. Ivan Sutherland included the image of “Nefertiti” in his PhD thesis as an illustration of this copy-and-paste function. Less than a half century later, in a cultural landscape that embraces the act of copying as an everyday banality, "Nefertiti" seems as much a lost prophecy as a figure of illustration. Her wink – a simple animated sequence of nearly identical images that successively replace each other – suggests far more than it shows. Her coquettish gesture seems a subtle inference to a copy-paste future unlikely to have been imagined in 1963 by most, much less by Dr. Sutherland, who according to his own words “...just wanted to make nice pictures.” The appropriateness of her name is apparently a coincidence. The cartoon's Egyptian appearance was acknowledged with the only Egyptian name Ivan Sutherland knew. Tellingly, however, the 3,300 year-old painted limestone bust of Nefertiti, currently at the Neues Museum in Berlin, is one of the most copied works of Ancient Egypt. Historically, it is also notable for exemplifying the understanding Ancient Egyptians had for realistic facial proportions; in other words, for demonstrating a keen ability to create faithful copies.

 

 

Excerpt from “Order Is Numbers,” 2013

Original:
Order Is Numbers, 2013
HD video (black & white, stereo)
84 minutes, looped

In Order Is Numbers, Darren Aronofsky’s 1998 science fiction film Pi is modified into a continuous black projection, only interrupted by film frames that correspond in number and location to the Fibonacci numbers (0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34 ....). The length of the film and the exponential growth rate of the Fibonacci sequence allow only 25 frames, and all but 6 of these appear in the first 3 minutes. At 1/25 frame per second, each frame is but a flicker, barely registered by the viewer's eye. The film centers on Maximillian ("Max") Cohen, whose obsession with discovering the underlying pattern within the chaos of the stock market gradually leads to self-destructive behavior. The number “pi”, the Fibonacci sequence, and the golden ratio are intimately connected in the film as mathematical proofs in Max's search for the ultimate order and pattern and their commonalities in apparently chaotic systems. Gaviria’s self-reflexive visual study is a time-based code that matches the exact scheme Max Cohen seeks and is thus a mirroring of one code within another. In its altered format, the film renders a reconstruction of the original 84-minute narrative from just a few scattered images as daunting and indeed perhaps as contrived as Max Cohen’s personal search for patterned order in chaos. Ultimately, Gaviria’s treatment of the film is a reassertion that the line between order and chaos is both subjective and tenuous and also one of our own making with no intrinsic meaning outside of the meaning we choose to impose on it.

 

 

Original:
Empty Form, 2008
16mm film, (black & white, sound), projection screen 66 x 90 cm.
15 minutes

A 16mm film projects only a black frame onto a small screen during a recitation in Russian of Kazimir Malevich’s essay "Художник и кино" ("The Artist and The Cinema") as its soundtrack. Empty Form explores the legacy of a history that never existed between abstract art and the cinema through a series of critical comments penned by Kazimir Malevich in relation to this latter art form, when it was still in its infancy, back in 1926. The voiceover, barely audible over the mechanical sound of the projector, comes as a reminder of how a discourse that initially helped inform the understanding of a medium fades and is reinterpreted as the conception of that medium expands and accommodates different goals and desires. The viewer is simply left to imagine what the reading might be saying and place a personal interpretation on the relationship of the spoken words with the black, visually ‘empty’ screen. The struggle through which we attempt to negotiate an aesthetic born in time and circumstances that are beyond ourselves is manifested here in a melancholic gesture wherein unintelligibility allows for the projection of several diverging (mis)interpretations.