[ISEA2015] Curators Statement: Sarah Joyce & Gordon Duggan – 5600K TEMPERATURE OF WHITE

Curators Statement

5600K refers to the colour temperature of a defined, white light that has become a standard in film production, used to replicate the appearance of natural light at the brightest time of day. It is understood as both real and false: a verisimilitude, a simulacrum. The manipulation of light in visceral, illusionary and poetic ways, the attempt to dismantle boundaries, space, structures, bodies and perception itself, the fascination with finding new languages of visual experience… all are of particular interest to the three artists in this exhibition: Carsten Höller, Gunda Förster and Elizabeth McAlpine.

Each work in the exhibition references both the disruptive and formative potential of light; to penetrate and affect the physical body and the surrounding space. In adjoining rooms, large installations by Carsten Höller and Gunda Förster each present rotational movement that is performative and dislocating. Hanging in the space between, creating a physical obstacle and alluding to transformative events, is a work by Elizabeth McAlpine. In a dark gallery Gunda Förster presents Circle, a single 1000W white light that floats on a endlessly circling pendulum. This light is compelling and spellbinding, as light in the dark often is, perhaps recalling something of our originating relationship with a vital light source at night and its natural link to the uncanny. The pendulum describes a slow circular movement that circumnavigates and herds the viewer, forming an inscribed enclosure that is distinctly different from the uncertain external zone. In the centre the viewer becomes a compulsory performer, while outside a looming shadow dance takes place, the result of light disrupted by physical mass.

In Light Reading; 1500 Cinematic Explosions Elizabeth McAlpine has mined the cinematic realm for fi lm explosions. The work links the real and unreal; explosions created in real time, filmed and then fi ctionalized to become a cinematic product. McAlpine appropriates and deconstructs 1500 cinematic narratives to produce a single, unified work, condensing the explosions into a tight loop that becomes more volatile and pure in its totality.
The result is a potent assemblage of white noise & perpetually explosive, white light. In the circular cage of the Neon Circle, scientist-turned-artist Carsten Höller has created a place of visceral engagement and perceptual transformation. As with all his works Holler pushes us to the limit; the body, the brain, the eye…challenging our ability to understand what we are seeing and to actually perceive and react within a profoundly disruptive environment. The viewer enters a space apart; an introspective, uncertain, selfquestioning space. The circular structure is alive with constantly shifting permutations of transmitted white light, dislocating our senses and channeling our focus inward. The iterative pulse diverts us from the fact that we have placed ourselves at centre stage and have become at once performer, captive and test subject. New Media Gallery is the civic gallery for the City of New Westminster. The gallery is devoted to bringing together the fi nest new media art from around the world and disseminating it through innovative, engaging and high quality exhibitions and programmes. Directors + Curators Sarah Joyce and Gordon Duggan have worked at Tate and Lisson galleries and have extensive international experience in the area of electronic media art.

  • Sarah Joyce & Gordon Duggan (Joyce + Duggan) are the Director/Curator team for the New Media Gallery in New Westminster, metro Vancouver, Canada. NMG is the City of New Westminster’s civic gallery. They have international experience in contemporary art & design with a focus on electronic media, new media art, and art-based technologies. They have expertise in exhibition development, art curation, visual culture theory, design, electronic media conservation and gallery management. They have helped develop international Best Practice and Gallery Standards in arts and culture, design and conservation. They have worked in both the public and private sectors. At Tate Gallery and Lisson, as private curators and at NMG they have worked with many of the world’s leading contemporary artists and art galleries. They are advocates for freedom of expression in the arts, co-founding the Art Appropriation Coalition.