Networks – MUMA Exhibition

April 29, 2011

Removing any preconceived notion as to what a exhibition titled “Networks: Cell and Silos” could entail, one would immediately find that the exhibits or art pieces do not take the conventional notion of cells and silos at face value. Rather than a stagnant hierarchy or relationship between points, this exhibition gave a sense of intelligence in the way these networks are created and evolve over time. There was a notion of progression and reaction over time and this in turn would cause the networks to evolve. For this to occur outside the realm of theory, most of the exhibition had to do with people and individuals as a collective. One of these exhibits was by Natalie Bookchin. In her exhibition, she engaged with the world that has been generated by YouTube. Taking various types of postings by individuals of themselves dancing, doing hand stands, posing or merely talking, she compiled them into a series, placing them side by side, all playing at the same time. The similarities and differences therefore became apparent through this exercise. Furthermore, there was a sense of value added to each video as part of a larger and correlated network.

This very same notion of the power and evolution of a network was also shown by Heath Bunting in his pieces highlighting absurd data relationships and intensities and how each of them is still interrelated. In the midst of all the randomness and absurdity of some of the data, the way in which the network between all these individual cells are shown gives the collective picture a certain value to it.

Koji Ryui looked at this notion of networks being the contrast between the individual and the collective as well. In his exhibition, there was a sense of play and simplicity in understanding how the individual straws can be used and formed together to create a collective. As explained, there was a sense that each then became a metaphor for something related to the artist and his understanding of networks and relationships in the world around him. His pieces in particular also gave a sense of the ability for these networks to evolve and react over time and as a response to exterior influences rather than structured systems that are forces onto a series of cells.

The art pieces by Masato Takasaka seem to look at how individual cells of colour, information or ideas can be ordered or attempt to be ordered in the way of creating a network or a singular voice from all of them. He used a series of drawings, painting, cut outs and pieces from other sources to create and curate a singular imagery. Despite the variety of inputs and influences that make up his pieces, there also emerges a depth and cohesiveness to it. The notion of his using pins for his exhibitions to hold up his pieces seems to convey a sense of temporality and the space given for change in the future in terms of influence and input.

Looking at all the exhibitions as a whole and trying to distil a unifying element that each seem to wrestle with, most if not all the exhibitions have looked in one way or another at the way in which the discourse between the individual and the collective can be related to one another. In the midst of all that, there was also a very human and personal tie to the ideas behind each piece. In many ways, the pieces were essentially about people and the networks around us and the cells that we represent. It questions the way that society comes together and the individuals that make the cells that come together to create and construct society. Art is therefore being used as the medium to question these issues and seems to be a medium in which we can meet with the cells and silos that exist within society.

Joel Lee

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