Maria Antelman: A Non-Existent Event

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Still from For Your Eyes Only, 2015 Video © Courtesy of the artist and The Apartment, Athens
Maria Antelman: A Non-Existent Event
Curated by: Melanie Flood

420 SW Washington Street
Portland, Oregon 97204
January 27th, 2015 - March 1st, 2015
Opening: January 27th, 2015 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

United States
Columbia University
digital, video-art, sculpture, conceptual


Melanie Flood Projects is pleased to present A Non-Existent Event, an exhibition of new work by New York-based artist Maria Antelman.  Antelman’s installation is comprised of a sound piece, a sculpture and a series of collages. In addition to the exhibition, the artist will screen her latest video For Your Eyes Only at Portland’s Upfor Gallery on Wednesday, January 28 at 6 pm.

Maria Antelman’s art points directly to our interaction with machines and the complicated systems they weave around us. In her latest body of work, tension is highlighted between the physicality of mechanical devices and the abstraction of the digital reality. In the sound piece The World of Blocks the artist plays with the divergence of natural and technical languages. Voice actors perform the script of SHRDLU, an Artificial Intelligence program created at MIT in 1968-70. The program was intended to enable computers to understand natural human language. In the script, the human user carries on a conversation with the computer program, which follows directions and performs commands.  Antelman’s sound piece changes the context and nature of this event, by taking it out of the microprocessor and turning it into a human dialogue, activating relations of power between conscious knowledge and programmed non-knowledge.

Viewing System is a sculpture made with found photomechanical viewing pieces supported by a wooden structure.  The work springs from Antelman’s interest in the overload of visual information delivered to us through numerous screens and devices.  To this end the sculpture provides a four-eyed viewing piece for an imaginary multi-eyed user. A series of collages presents geometrical compositions with details of mechanical tools, used for building space gear that the artist photographed inside a NASA metal shop. The color palette of the collages, with high acidic hues and saturation levels, was inspired by the gleaming hot landscapes of J.G. Ballard’s 1962 dystopian novel, The Drowned World.

The video For Your Eyes Only explores how the world might feel through the senses of the machines that we design.  Here the artist combines archival images with her own photographs from space exploration centers to take us into the unfamiliar techno-scientific wilderness. Layers of graphic symbols emulating computer vision are superimposed onto the imagery, creating the illusion that machines are viewing and analyzing the images on the screen. The soundtrack is compiled with coding language commands from computer vision programming, highlighting the awkward nature of human-machine interactions. 

Maria Antelman (born Athens, Greece) lives and works in New York City. She holds a BA in Art History from Complutense University in Madrid, Spain and an MFA from Columbia University in New York.  Recent shows include Notes from the Field at the University of Melbourne, Soft Machines at Impakt Festival in Utrecht, Private Matters at Apexart in New York, Stigmergy at 247365 in Brooklyn, The Amateurs at The Agency in London, …But the Clouds… at Room East in New York and Capsule Spaces at the Eugenides Foundation in Athens.

 Wednesday evening’s screening will be held at Upfor Gallery located at 929 Northwest Flanders Street, Portland, OR 97209