Fact Mystic: Hmmmmm
Alfredo Trombetti estimated that the first language was created sometime between 100,000 and 200,000 years ago.
Steven Mithen proposed the term ‘Hmmmmm’ as a pre-linguistic system of communication that was used in the archaic time.
‘Hmmmmm’ is an acronym for holistic (non-compositional), manipulative (utterances are commands or suggestions, not descriptive statements), multi-modal (acoustic as well as gestural), musical and mimetic language. To put it differently: the diversity of communication.
Language has developed prodigious in the last century. The way we process information has changed as well. As a result of the rise of Internet, there is a huge amount of information available to us. And it seems almost impossible to point our finger towards specific information. ‘I Read Where I Am: Exploring New Information Cultures’ by Geert Lovink and Minke Kampman, is a collaboration between 82 authors, critics, artists and designers. They are researching and observing how we daily consume and produce our information.
In the exhibition Fact Mystic, one is challenged to navigate this diversity in communication, in how the spectator consumes the information provided by the artist.
In a new series of works, Michiel Ceulers uses the technique of QRencoding to create paintings. A QR-code is a two-dimensional barcode that was developed in 1994 by Denso Wave. QR is a abbreviation of the words ‘Quick Response’. It was developed to be decoded quickly. Generally, the QR-codes are used by means of communication in magazines, newspapers, and public advertisements. Ceulers uses them here as a way of painterly communication. Scanning the QR-codes will lead to different youtube videos where the title of the works is explained. For example the work "Dandy in die Kunst, wie; Krebber, Picabia, Duchamp und Ceulers" will guide you to a youtube film about ‘How to visit a playboy club’. The relation between the title, the way of communication and the youtube video, forces the spectator to relate these different sources of information to each other, but in their own individual way.
The series of works titled ‘Goofy Audit (Exception)’ by Chris Evans, are relief sculptures on table-like stands, positioned so the spectator does not view them horizontally, like you would view a painting, but more perpendicular from above. They show traces of sweep marks made with a hard broom stroke, visibly suggesting a kind of ‘bassesse’, both in their physical positioning and their banal gesture. Looking down on them deliberately counteracts the way the two figures - an 'i' and 'paw-i' - are arranged in perspective with each other. Evans chose the table-like displays, referencing how a museum might display something like an ancient Mesopotamian tablet - the clay slabs used for early picture writing - like the first identifiable language. They were perhaps first used for auditing, since these kinds of economic statements was probably what was first written down.
Where ‘i’ and ‘paw-i’ take turns claiming centre spot, and are seen in relation to each other, one might think of the description in Carl Jung’s philosophy of ‘animism’. Animism encompasses the beliefs that there is no separation between the spiritual and the physical world, going so far that humans and animals are seen as equals. It is rooted in the Jung’s philosophy of the subconscious thinking.
The new series of paintings titled ‘Structure for viewing’ by Melissa Gordon, all start from a specific newspaper article in which the newspaper references itself as a medium. Gordon follows the design structure of particular newspaper pages. The artist abstracts the article itself by using the technique used for printing newspapers ( C M Y K ) , hand printing the grid using different manual printing techniques: silkscreens, wood and dot matrixes. She unveils and formalizes the underlying structures of media representation in printed matter.
In Lisa Oppenheim’s ‘Leisure Work’s’, folds of antique lace multiply in successive photograms. The work derives its title from the classification of lace making in an early twentieth century Belgian census. Since lace making was predominately considered to be the domestic labor of women, it was not considered labor worth recording. Except maybe now recorded as an art project and brought into another economy. The object documented is a 3-meter long piece of lace from Devon and documents of each fold of the lace are registered on silver gelatin paper. Folding the lace is a step in a performance and occupation and is also a gesture to the history of photography and William Henry Fox Talbot’s (1800-1877) early experiments with lace calotypes.