FRONT SPACE @ Galerie Fons Welters
Before the time of Christopher Columbus’ discovery of America in 1492 man meditated upon the horizon as the site of his limitation both physical and mental. A site forever retreating where giant serpents awaited with gaping mouths to swallow unwary sailors in salty brine. The horizon instilled both fear and wonder and as such was a place of sublime contemplation. Today we live in a similar moment of uncertainty to say the least. That horizon is no longer the tangible line created by a natural phenomena and real physical conditions but instead a fragmented distributed network-continuum based on mathematical presumptions, which we assume to be true, linked together ad infinitum. We no longer peer out to infinity but instead gaze into a constructed virtuality and subsequently alienation.
For the work ‘Horizon Swell’, 2011, Warren Neidich has once again returned to Malibu, California, the site of his earlier work ‘Double Vision, Malibu’, 1999, to investigate the conditions of this alienation and anxiety as we enter into the new unknowns of the age of information. In ‘Double Vision, Malibu’ and other such works made between 1997-2003, Neidich constructed low-tech self-made apparatuses in front of an array of photographic, video and cinematic cameras. The metaphorical lack of super-imposability of the apparatuses of objective and rational science, and those of artistic practice, the cameras, represents a kind of incommensurable void that is the true essence of the earlier forms of alienation.
Here in ‘Horizon Swell’, 2011, made some 10 years later, using surfers as the metaphor of his investigations, Neidich has taken these one step further. In this moment of semio-capitalism, in which capitalism instead of producing goods is producing psychic stimulation, the surfers, or web surfers if you will, and the environments they find themselves, are delinked from their real significations first of all as bodies in space, next as icons of a counter culture in which individualism and radicality are lauded, to become something antonymous. Perhaps this is why Neidich has chosen to use perverted colours in these pictures; colours that frame the moment of the un-surfers failure and crashing.
The surfer is searching for the most gigantic wave with the most psychic capital and as such requiring the superstructure of cognitive capital with its virtual machinery of sponsors, high technology and branded super stars to engage with them. The un-surfer of Neidich’s work is finding ways to subvert these very conditions and is the trickster boarder, bucking bronco of the wave form, whose bodies is flung into the air and anti-gravity where new individual combinations of sensory and cognitive majesty are possible. A place of destabilized schizophrenia in which, like Deleuze and Guattari intuit the possibility for diversity of thought and assemblages of new meanings are possible.
Warren Neidich is an artist and writer living between Los Angeles and Berlin. His artworks have been exhibited internationally at such institutions as the PS1 MOMA, The Whitney Museum of American Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Ludwig Museum, ICA-London and Temporary Kunsthalle, Berlin. Selected future exhibitions 2011 include Galerie Moriarty, Madrid, The Emily Harvey Foundation, NYC, Extra City, Antwerp, Zentrum für Kunstprojekte, Vienna and The MAC Center, Vienna. He is recipient of the Vilem Flusser Theory Award, Berlin, Germany, 2010 and is a Fulbright Scholar Program Recipient, 2011. His monograph of drawing projects, Lost Between the Extensivity/Intensivity Exchange was recently published by Onomatopee, Einhoven. Cognitive Architecture: From Biopolitics to Noo politics was the outcome of his research and collaborative project with Deborah Hauptmann at the Delft School of Design, TU Delft School of Architecture, Delft.