Juneau Projects: 3 Megabytes of hot RAM
8 April – 21 May 2011
Juneau Projects’ first solo exhibition at Ceri Hand Gallery incorporates a new body of work (paintings, sculpture, animation and photographs) that together draw on a flawed 1980s vision of the future. The exhibition title 3 Megabytes of Hot RAM is taken from William Gibson’s 1984 novel Neuromancer and sets the tone of the exhibition – incorporating desire, nostalgia, failure and loss, despite the fact it refers to the future.
The centrepiece of the exhibition is Data Haven, a huge suspended mass of computers, data storage and monitors in the form of an inscrutable face. A ‘data haven’ is a secure, unregulated place for storing data beyond the reach of government or corporations. These storage spaces imply freedom fighters, libertarians, criminals, hackers and, in this particular instance, the artists themselves. A global portrait spewing from the industrial ceiling of the gallery, this sculpture is physically out of reach, tantalisingly revealing the artists formative sketches for the exhibition on a range of screens that hum and flicker their way through representations of the creative process – namely rejection and selection, pared down to a homogenous, throbbing mass of snaking wires and green and black pixels.
TOP500 is a series of new watercolours depicting the ten fastest supercomputers existing in the world today. The ‘TOP500 project’ ranks and details the fastest supercomputers, with the makers of these computers giving their machines romantic or naturalistic names such as ‘Jaguar’ or ‘Cielo’ (Spanish for sky or heaven). Taking this as their cue, Juneau Projects have created a series of heraldic designs that each attempt to explain the function and history of the supercomputers they represent. Each supercomputer is researched by one of the Juneau Projects, who works up an emblem idea and explains it verbally to the other Juneau Projects member who, without reference to the actual supercomputer or the context for the emblem’s imagery, creates and paints their own version of the design. This process of translation creates a system of information transfer, existing between two people rather than the circuits
of a computer.
Other works in the exhibition include a series of new unique bleach-etched digital photographic prints that reflect upon mortality and obsolescence in relation to technology, and a series of new abstract landscape paintings produced using robotic arms.
These paintings are made outdoors, using a laptop and mouse to control the robot arm directly, (rather than programming it). Despite its’ sophistication, the arm and the computer mediate the movements of the artist, turning the attempted landscape painting into an abstract series of colour bands. The paintings are held by the robot arms, perched on several shelves in the gallery, as if ready to be called into artistic action.
Juneau Projects, Turing Test, 2011, hand bleached photographic print, 33.1 x 23.4 in. / 84.1 x 59.4 cm
Image courtesy of the artists and Ceri Hand Gallery