Turning the Viral Tempest

Tournant de la tempźte virale

Galerie Richard

74, rue de Turenne 75003 Paris

September 3rd – October 22nd, 2022

 

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Orlando Manifestation in Passing (2022) 96x96cm

 

 

“An invisible circulating virus has humbled our powers of perception. Its human-to-human transmission essentially steers culture towards a heightened sense of connectivity, delicacy and vulnerability.”  – Joseph Nechvatal

 

 

In the first gallery of the Turning the Viral Tempest exhibition, four 2022 Orlando Manifesting paintings are hung; one on each wall. This hanging suggests a turning circular dynamic within the room that parallels the physical turning of my The Viral Tempest double LP record when being played. The Viral Tempest record has recently been released by Pentiments.

 

I also connect this circular turning dynamic to my memory of seeing Quad, a 1981 television play by Samuel Beckett where four hunched hooded asexual figures in robes turn around and around a stage in set patterns.

 

The second gallery of the Turning the Viral Tempest exhibition is hung with a straight line of smaller canvases from my 2020 Galerie Richard show Orlando et la tempźte. Taken together, the Turning the Viral Tempest exhibition indirectly addresses issues of gender plasticity within our tempestuous viral and social-political times by imagining nonexistent mythic scenes from the flippant 1928 novel Orlando by Virginia Woolf (the story of an aristocratic young male poet who transforms into a woman overnight and lives for 300 years).

 

Turning the Viral Tempest treats the fantastical and voluble story of Woolf’s Orlando with corresponding puckish flippancy. But this playful flippancy is achieved by what I think of as the responsibility of long lookinga shift into a non-binary visual noise field where viewers can re-appropriate their capacity to visualize on a personal basis.

 

Storms have no gender and mean full-blow fluidity. In Turning the Viral Tempest, my ambiguous Orlando avatar (a regenerated Lazarus) is embedded into just such noisy chaotic grounds to the extent that normal figure/ground relationships more-or-less merge, playing elusively with what is seen, what is suggested, what is repressed, and what is desired. The starring pansexual Orlando avatar plays hide-and-seek with the tempestuous, viral-whipped, environment, that, in the end, is meant to suggests carnal mystic queries.

 

Long term influences on my pangender interests have been key works of Marcel Duchamp and Genesis Breyer P-Orridge’s term (from the mid-80s) panthropology: a transhumanist multi-spectrum poly-androgynous concept that transcends gender labels. In 2000 I exhibited Computer Virus Project II artworks (with artist’s statements) investigating virtual hermaphrodite complexity in my ec-satyricOn 2000 exhibition, and again in my 2002 show vOluptuary: an algorithic hermaphornology. I have continued to use viral, androgynous, and trans-forms in my work, since. Indeed, in 2018, I penned a pansexual art theory paper entitled Before and Beyond the Bachelor Machine that was published in Arts.

 

As meticulously articulated in my book Immersion Into Noise, Turning the Viral Tempest utilizes aesthetic visual noise that puts representation and abstraction into interactive play by flipping the common figure/ground emphasis (to some extent) so that the eye must navigate and unpack the phantasmagorical pandemonium presented. This entails an intimate act of seeing and imaging on the part of the viewer, which the paintings’ rather modest size encourages. As such, Turning the Viral Tempest dips under the surface of the turbulently shredding atmospherics of today to convey and encourage intimate and fluid visualizations that resist conventional social constraints.

 

Gender here is viewed as an act of becoming that fails to sustain sex oppression by ceasing to draw the boundaries of the Other. As such it is a provocation not only to male/female constructions of heterosexuality, but also to homosexual constructions of identity. This critique of ‘representation’ in the aesthetic sense is part of a critique of ‘representation’ in the political sense (and vice versa).

 

The paintings in the Turning the Viral Tempest exhibition are created with custom C++ artificial-life software modeled as a virus (made in collaboration with the French programmer Stéphane Sikora) and archival inkjet painted on Hahnemühle Daguerre canvas. The black node graph panels in some of the small diptychs and triptychs were made in a manner similar to Markov chains, tracking the word virus in William S. Burroughs 1970 essay The Electronic Revolution. In that essay, Burroughs draws attention to the subversive influence of the word virus on humans and the dangers of using the human voice as a weapon. A script was written to analyze the text, where, for every transition from the word virus to another word virus, a link was drawn between the nodes corresponding to that recurring word. Then Graphviz, an open source graph visualization software, was used to generate the graph, which I then aesthetically treated.

 

 

works in the show

 

gallery 1

 

 

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Orlando Manifestation in Circulation (2022) 96x96cm

 

 

 

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Orlando Manifestation in Travesty (2022) 96x96cm

 

 

 

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Orlando Manifestation in Passing (2022) 96x96cm

 

 

 

 

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Orlando Manifestation in Bifurcated Transference (2022) 96x96cm

 

 

 

 

gallery 2

 

 

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Sashaying Orlando on the Moonlight Mile (2018) 30x60cm diptych

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Noisy Orlando and the Need (2018) 30x60cm diptych

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Plagued Orlando of Non-Binary Instability (2019) 30x90cm triptych

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Orlando the Oracle of Thorns (2020) 30x60cm diptych

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Heroic Orlando as Trophonios (2020) 30x60cm diptych

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Decadent Orlando in the Viral Maelstrom (2018) 30x90cm triptych

 

 

 

 

 

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Dissipating Orlando and the Blue Blizzard (2020) 30x60cm diptych

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Plagued Orlando Tracking the Viral Storm (2020) 30x60cm diptych

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Stormy Orlando and the Golden Plum Field (2019) 30x60cm diptych

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Surveyed Orlando in the Thicket of Shreds (2019) 30x90cm triptych

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

gallery 3

 

 

 

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The Viral Tempest double LP record (open cover) published by Pentiments

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RETURN