The pink on pink on pink initially grabbed my attention. I could totally play artsy-fartsy and make a reference to being caught up in nostalgia from the artworks of Trevor Paglen and Richard Mosse, but I’d be lying. The work of the Paris-based American artist Evan Roth, a onetime hacker who got his start as part of F.A.T. Lab, a mischievous tech collective dedicated to D.I.Y. experimentation in the public domain (including such stunts as driving around in a makeshift Google Street View car, referred to as “Notorious R&D.”), is super pretty! And it turns out, Roth wanted me to think that way! Roth’s installation looks to rekindle the feelings of optimism, inspiration and community the internet first ushered. See, told ya!
In light of government crackdown on hackers and the increasing corporatization of the web (hashtag: #netneutrality), Roth found himself falling out of love with the internet and its many possibilities. He hatched an elaborate plan to rekindle the flame: he would travel around the world searching for the places where the internet makes itself visible—such as the beaches where bundles of fiber optic cables slither out of the ocean—and document the natural setting in the style of a romantic landscape painting. Awww!
And there’s an added twist, he decided to shoot these locations on infrared cameras, a reference to the method ghost-hunters use when trying to make the invisible visible—displayed on a deliberately eclectic array of screens, from smartphones to TVs, and priced at $100,000 as a set—beaming to the natural-cum-internet world location straight into the art fair. This is made possible because each video is stored on a server in its place of origin, so that the footage is actually streaming to the fair directly from the location it was shot.
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