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John Hawke: Even a Mirror Casts a Shadow
Process Room, 07.06.2011 - 19.06.2011
The installation of the mirror monument in the courtyard and the presentation of the process room as the branded gallery of a corporate sponsor are attempts to represent our times, where "the market" is seen as an order of Nature, that through economic "acts of God" may terrorize individuals, social classes, and even governments. A world determined not through collective political priorities, but through the inscrutable, and so unquestionable, logic of credit default swaps, hedge fund algorithms, and bond holder sentiment. This crypto-magic functioning leads to the institution of a corporate sublime—through the impression of overwhelming immensity and complexity, citizens are subjugated.
The courtyard monument updates its ancient cousin, the standing stone—whereas standing stones are implacable with regards to time (unchanging) and place (unmoving), the mirror stone, is essentially mobile and despite its impression of immensity, disposable. Its reflective surfaces evince a refusal to be examined, like the anodyne name of the fictive corporate sponsor/gleaner: the Lean Network/Vision Group— hyper-efficient yet blank. Its scale dominates the viewer while a "fun" element, the little wheels, are disarming; allowing the viewer to laugh at it (as it dominates them)—an unfunny joke, like Berlusconi. The work is presented as a gift to the museum but on reading the purposefully confusing plaque is acknowledged to be a prototype method for ideological crowd control: "reorienting large populations and de-ionizing static resistance." Dangerous, with a barrier preventing viewers approaching too closely, it becomes a figurative toxic asset bequeathed to the museum (state) by Lean Networks.
"I see it a homeopathic strategy, seeding micrograms of a poisonous element (the corporate sublime) to aide recognition by the body politic’s economic immune system. Clear falsehoods (an 80 billion ton stone that is in fact, chicken wire and household foil), become legitimated through context (museum) or form (plaque, label), while the concentric layers of presentation where the artist seems to be displaced by the corporate sponsor, are attempts to foment a productive confusion where assumptions may be questioned." John Hawke lives in Brooklyn, NY. Contact and updates on his work may be found at http://johnhawke.com/
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