April 10 - May 5, 2012
Archer Gallery is proud to present The Scheme of Things, an exhibition of works by Jason Salavon, including The Top 25 Grossing Films of All Time, 2001 and Spigot (Babbling Self-Portrait), 2010. By viewing works created almost a decade apart, the audience is invited to view the threads of the artist’s interests in the rapidly changing medium of digital work.
Salavon is one of the lead artists working with information technology and is among the first to use software he designed to mine data systems for use in his work. He finds source material in popular culture and everyday systems. By reducing and abstracting information to a minimal state, often color blocks and bands, larger patterns emerge.
The Top 25 Grossing Films of All Time, 2001 is a digital video projection showing the abstraction of the top grossing films (as of March 2001) into a series of four-color grids displayed together. The films are shown side by side in real time; the viewer is presented with color shifting squares and the interlaced sounds of the twenty-five films. As each film ends, a grid of four squares is blacked out. By the end, we can hear the audible swelling sounds of the final scenes of the longest running films.
Spigot (Babbling Self-Portrait), 2010 is a dual video installation mining Salavon’s own internet searches for more than two years. Google’s archive of over 11,000 searches is reconstructed to show two sides, the literal text being searched and the time of a search on one part, as well as the color-categorized data returned with each search, running in an endless stream, on the second. The sounds are of web pages being read aloud over one another, once again with an overwhelming cacophony of sounds that allow us to catch phrases only from time to time.
Both more personal and technologically complex than The Top 25 Grossing Films of All Time, Spigot (Babbling Self-Portrait), uses a visual language that relates a great deal to the earlier work. Abstracting visual results to color blocks, the overwhelming multiple sounds causing audio abstraction, and the gridding of information to run in time with others, all give a familiar but shifted feeling for the viewer.
Moving from profitable films to private internet searches, from running real time to collapsed time where multiple searches are viewed simultaneously, this work can be viewed as an unintentional companion to The Top 25 Grossing Films of All Time, showing us both Salavon’s artistic process over time and our own cultural shifts through a decade of changing technologies. As within a Salavon work, viewing these two pieces together reveals larger patterns at play.