Exhibition and Post-exhibition
Columbia University, GSAPP
Critic / Oskar Orn Arnorsson Andres Jaque (Office for Political Innovation)
Seminar / Arguments
Argument for/against / Revital Cohen - Tuur Van Balen
Apophenia is “a psychiatric term describing the tendency to perceive meaningful connections between unrelated things or patterns in random formation.”1 Gradually I began to relate everything around me as “apophenic” representations, drawn from my own uncontrollable and unrecognizable mental extrapolations. In addition, the commensuration between the gaming industry and societal conditions synced comfortably with my newly discovered (or just cooked up) apophenic realities. Today’s society is a superset of the gaming industry – an all-pervasive and never-ending delusion – “the demise of a linear future.”2
The piece, Let The Games, literary, and psychologically mirrors the Apophenia it intends to explain. Starting with an extract of the phrase “let the games begin”, this splitting mimics a snap out of the gaming reality into an alternate dimension, perhaps a behind-the-scenes-reality masqueraded behind a controlled gaming environment (this may be just another figment of my apophenic ailment). The inner reality represents itself as a series of prose, poetry, or just phrases; a sequence of unspoken truths that begin by identifying the physical environment and pass through a schizophrenic distillation. It ends with a loss of words, just blackened sounds indicating a mental malfunctioning. As the mind corrupts itself under the systemic introduction of this apophenic contemporary condition, it snaps back to the outer reality, beginning to play and bet, never to stop seizing. Society’s perpetual schizophrenia establishes a corrupted cycle of gratification or ‘insta-gratification’ where we are never completely happy, satisfied, or entertained and everything is a game and can be betted upon.
Artists, writers and exhibitors, Revital Cohen and Tuur Van Balen, capture the harsh and masqueraded realities of the gaming industry. They present the world as a simulation of apophenic tendencies – a schizophrenic reality. The film, The Odds; the literary pieces, Let The Games and Spit on the Carpet; and the exhibit, Lune Eclipse, Oasis Dream, together with paint a beautiful understanding and representation of the artists’ intentions. And then suddenly, the artworks come to a closure, leaving just after tastes, understandings, and sympathies.
KS: So why does it terminate at the point of discovery? Why do the arts stand-alone and could they be linked to some post-exhibition decision making and problem-solving? Could they be prequels to policy and architectural design? Without that don’t they run the risk of redundancy as they repeat the same discovery on a loop? Did you anticipate an aftermath to your work (this or any other artwork)? Do you feel it would be worthy to collaborate with a solver or solving party to come about a change in the sequence of events?
RC+TVB: We are artists. It is difficult to predict a possible understanding and we cannot even predict a singular reading or understanding of our work. These pieces are always open to interpretation and every viewer perceives it differently. The intension is to present the multiple intentions in the best possible way, to allow pluralistic meanings to be derived. We don’t look at the aftermath. There is no projection of making a change or alteration or even working with another kind of professional to solve anything. Maybe we leave it to likes of you who understand our piece so well, we can look forward to changes in the system. We hope to inspire, maybe experience sees a change, or at least make audiences aware.
KS: Thank you (continuing to think more).
Let us come back to the art and the exhibition. Luna Eclipse, Oasis Dream by Revital Cohen and Tuur Van Balen intended (from my reading and understanding) to represent the following equation.
Exhibition media and composition = Gaming experience = All-pervasive Apophenia
The monologue opens with the phrase “the demise of a linear future”3 defining the rut of the gaming industry and hence the rut of society. Throughout the piece, there are multiple iterations of cyclic behavior that threaten the linear development of reality. They collectively indicate the inevitability of society - swooning in a loop, never to change its condition.
People like me, like us, are subjects of the apophenic reality. We are inspired, but most often we are synchronized to deliver nothing, just appreciation, and gratification of the experience and artwork. The absence of post-exhibition leaves the legacy of the art as a blip on the palimpsest of our gratifications. It weakens the impact of overtime, rendering the hard work to be futile. Human beings are thick or ludicrous enough to show sympathy or even empathy with the plight of the thoroughbred horses and showgirls, but more than ninety-nine percent or even all of us may never raise a finger. Some may not even sympathize and continue to bet.
“Do the Arts Make You Happy? Hedonic consumption/arts fatigue?”4
The arts have entered a phase of “hedonic consumption” under the rule of insta-gratification. With audiences looking for another high, the work of artists in contemporary times is losing the vitality to inspire, enrage, and impact. Can art transition from the age of exhibition to one of post-exhibit activism and have mandatory or at least active synchronization between the exhibited art and the aftermath? If one can change the contemporary condition from the cyclic gamble of the arts to an art-to-impact linearity, there is a possibility to make an alternative reality, one where ‘linear futures’ are possible. Hedonism perhaps scares artists and they choose to leave it open-ended to pleasure all and instigate close to none. See, enjoy, understand, extrapolate, and move on to another. The cyclic outcomes of the arts perhaps color it fatigued. Maybe a post-exhibitor can unite to build linear outcomes.
1 _ Revital Cohen and Tuur Van Balen, “Luna Eclipse, Oasis Dream,” REVITAL COHEN & TUUR VAN BALEN, , accessed July 08, 2019, https://www.cohenvanbalen.com/work/luna-eclipse-oasis-dream#.
2 _ ibid.
3 _ ibid.
4 _ Revital Cohen and Tuur Van Balen, “LET THE GAMES,” DUE, , accessed August 08, 2019, http://due.aaschool.ac.uk/cohenvanbalen/.