From January 24 – March 6, 2016, PARTICIPANT INC is proud to present Peter Hendrick, Convocation, a 5-channel sound and video installation that presents the output of a computer program devised by the artist to translate prominent religious texts into Morse code.
Developed over the course of several years, Convocation consists of an originally designed computer program which, operating in real time, distills theological texts from Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Hindu, and Judaism into a visual and aural cacophony of dots, dashes, and beeps. Emanating from text files, each book is translated; the image and sound, in Morse Code, are simultaneously relayed to the corresponding projected image. Divided into five ‘stations,’ one for each religion represented, the resulting multimedia work abstracts the texts into audio and video outputs — reducing various concepts of infallibility into a monochromatic, monotone, technological system.
Growing up as a Catholic gay man in Ireland during the sectarian violence of the 1970s and subsequently moving to England to study before immigrating to the United States, Hendrick creates multi-media works that explore the complicated relationships between nation-state patriotism, domestic security, and international politics. In particular, American exceptionalism has been a long-running interest, manifesting initially with Shadows of the American Dream (1998) — a photo installation series documenting failed utopian architecture once viewed as a vision of the future, while his photo and sculptural works, Other World (1999) examined concepts of personal memory and identity from the perspective of an expatriate returning to the turbulent country of his youth.
A later exhibition, DEFENSE! (2004), explored the trope of the "American dream," and centered on a sculptural installation entitled Homeland. The work was composed of eight homogenous, totemic forms, each with their own picket fence and personal cleansing space, to propose that fabricated notions of domestic comfort and separation reiterate false pretenses of security. Hendrick's Offensive paintings, from the same exhibition, consist simply of the word HOMELAND set against varying camouflage backgrounds. Utilizing the same typography used by Hummer — which, prior to its consumer use, was developed as a U.S. military reconnaissance vehicle —253 East Houston Street NY NY 10002 Hendrick twins American luxury taste with the military-industrial complex. More recent works, such as The White Flag Project (2008-ongoing), turns the focus from domestic matters to international affairs. In this work, signifiers of national identity are rendered decidedly neutral through the meticulous process of reproducing every international flag of state entirely in white.
Peter Hendrick (b. 1963, Ireland), lives and works in New York. He received a BA with Honors from Chelsea School of Art in London and an MFA from Hunter College in New York. Solo exhibitions include DEFENSE! (2004), Schroeder Romero, Brooklyn, NY; Conversations at Night (2002), Galerie Anne Barrault, Paris, France; Other World (1999), Temple Bar Gallery, Dublin; and Shadows of the American Dream (1998), Triskel Arts Centre, Cork. Group exhibitions include That Was Then, This Is Now (2008), MoMA/PS1, Queens, NY; Rule of Law (2006), Broadway Gallery, NYC; Home and Away: Contemporary Irish Art (2002), Haggerty Museum of Art, Milwaukee; as well as group exhibitions at Center for Photography, Woodstock, NY (2002),and White Columns, NY (1994 & 95). His work has been written about in Le Monde, Art Monthly, The Irish Times, The New York Times among others. Hendrick has received an Arts Council of Ireland Visual Arts Travel Award (2002) and an Art Matters Inc. Fellowship (1994).
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