curated by Laura Goldsmidt
Charlotte Brüel, Rebecca Lindsmyr, Iulia Nistor, Lea Porsager, Sonia Landy Sheridan, Tove Storch, Haegue Yang
The exhibition title Betamax is a reference to Sony’s 12.7 mm home-video-tape format launched in 1975. The name is derived from the tape’s drive mechanism, which resembles the Greek letter beta. In spite of several superior attributes, including a better-quality picture, it was nevertheless outpaced by the VHS system on the global market. At present, the VHS- and Betamax formats are a thing of the past, for younger generations perhaps just words without body. Words that have disappeared from our language, replaced by new standards for digital representation such as JPEG or NFT. In an etymological sense, the word ’technology’ is made up of téchnë, Greek for arts and craft, and lógos, meaning thought and reason. Technology has since become truly distanced from its original meaning and assumed an almighty and, at times, inhumane character.
“Consciousness constantly creates new things, coloured by what came before and what will be, a constant process, the very phenomenon of creating states of consciousness – that is time. Existing in time, therefore, means being in a state of creation in a heterogeneous, continual stream of ‘has been, is, and will become’.”1
The ethos of art is non-linear – like our perception of time. The exhibition presents seven different practices which, collectively, extend across four generations. With their individual experience, they represent different contemporary impressions. Traces intersecting across media. It is a coincidence which, like non-representative painting, is never an upshot of chance but rather a result of stored movements and patterns of perception, operating among several kinds of consciousness.
It is a psychological and physical algorithm used to create, examine, and solve problems during the creational process. Like the camera-based works in the exhibition, it is the actual process behind the picture that brings about the final result. We are presented with manipulative surveillance shots copied from the screen like an analogous screenshot. Works with an inbuilt vacuum of forty years – studies in early digital image experiments which cannot be relegated to a specific time frame, since the works’ creational process spans four decades.
The idea of a room for continuous creative activities is continued in sculptures whose narrative appears open, exact, and unfinished – a network where several spaces come together as one. The exhibition generates a complex network, in which the large installations are shaped by objects subjected to physical cumulative reduction and a redistribution of energy – from colossal vertical connecting links between heaven and earth to openings uniting nature and civilisation. Individually, several works try to unite industrial material and various kinds of arts and craft. Details are not sublime but essential parts of the whole – and, at the same time, the whole is embedded in each separate detail. Together, the works in the exhibition represent a collective pattern of movement, pointing back, forward and sideways.
’Generation loss’ might be interpreted as a generation of people who have lost something. Originally, it is a technical term denoting a cumulative loss of quality arising when copies of copies are made over time. Man’s genetic material is the result of replication, ensuring a stable passing-on of DNA from one generation to the next. Like the chromosomes in our cells, human culture has to be passed on. The DNA of our different cultures is structured by rituals, often appearing so heterogeneous in its form that it seems to surpass our own biology in complexity.2 In light of the passing on of culture, ’generation loss’ might, on the contrary, evoke artistic value; each repetition serves to further inform the idiom. The minor deviations or displacements possibly resulting from repetition will form a basis for new experience. One is tempted to ask whether repetition exists, at all – or whether it is solely insistence on development?
“Body: it is a world-building word, filled with potential, and, as with glitch, filled with movement. Bodied, when used as a verb, is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as “giving material form to something abstract”.”3
/ Laura Goldschmidt
1 Anne Fastrup: At vare – om tiden og bevidstheden hos Henri Bergson, 1989, pp. 19–20.
2 Den Danske Radeerforening. Medlemsnyt, May 2020 by Andreas Albrectsen: ‘LA Air – Jonathan Monk’. 3 Legacy Russell: Glitch Feminism. A Manifesto, (Glitch is Cosmic), 2020, pp. 41–42.