Everyone experiences more than they can remember. In his conception of the memorious figure Ireneo Funes, Jorge Luis Borges wrote “To think is to forget differences, generalize, make abstractions.” When looking back, one’s perception of the past becomes two dimensional; it becomes a rough outline of reality. Close your eyes and try to rewatch your favorite half hour television program in your head, moment by moment. How long till you get to the end? A minute? Less? The resolution of information our brain can capture is far less dense than that of our eyes, ears and immediate senses. In Riddle; Obsolescence, the first large-scale exhibition by 502 Bad Gateway, the artist duo looks to confront the relationship humankind shares with its own depreciated lifespan, in both its fragments and its entirety.
Mystical Galerie introduces the show. Positioned closest to the exhibit entrance, it immediately invites the viewer to sit down at a desk and simply play a game. Digital concepting for this piece, which is visually inspired by 1990s home computer adventure games, was among the first things the duo worked on and it is in many ways a frozen capsule of their early conceptions of the show. Serving as a past representation of their perception of what gallery goers’ future will become, the piece attempts to establish the temporal roots of Riddle; Obsolescence.
Omitted Catalogues in Matrice takes two microfiche readers, common to libraries and archival offices, and uses them as nonlinear storytelling devices. The stories are seen by sliding the microfiche plate around, exposing frames to the lens and projecting them on the front of the devices. Each machine can read a piece of microfiche film that explores versions of ideas, characters, and locations found within other components of the show.
The Q Publics is a piece that was started roughly 70 years ago. 502 Bad Gateway inherited the legs of this piece when a box of painstakingly edited 8mm home movies from the 1950s American suburbs was given to them with a projector at a yard sale. This piece confronts the loss of memories that happens when media formats change, and tries to honor their survival. The projector is loaded with a film loop that hangs from the ceiling and moves rapidly, cycling through memories. The reels are projected onto a sculpted “screen” created via manipulation of one film frame in 3D software, and 3D printed into physical structure.
The duo’s networked paintings hybridize oil paintings with interactive elements, representing landscapes as vertical equirectangular visions of imagined locations.
All five works include reactive components that encourage viewers to touch and use the paintings. They each attempt to recreate the unique perspective angle of a flattened 360° image, illuminating every possible viewpoint of a single moment. Each concrete sculpture in Riddle; Obsolescence has an alternate material element woven into its structure: copper for Bone and Arrow, bismuth in Long Story Short, and plastic for The Holophote Library.
As each sculpture traveled through the process of being made– from one software to the next and finally to the physical world– its form was changed and guided by intention, but ultimately left to the whim of impermanence.