Show #31: JODI at And/Or Gallery
Through August 25, 2018
By Jody Zellen
In the mid 1990s, when artists began to experiment with the internet, using it as a platform to create artworks that lived outside traditional gallery spaces that were accessible to all with a modem, a curious website — JODI (or http://www.jodi.org) — was shared, applauded and exalted by all aspiring net artists. Visiting the site — at the time on older slower browsers — a black background with green symbols appeared on the screen. This source code (HTML) that drove the site was a detailed diagrams for hydrogen and uranium bombs.
From the outset, JODI played with code, often mimicking screen glitches as a form of art. Formed in 1994 JODI is the work of JOan Heemskerk and DIrk Paesmans, (JO DI) a couple based in the Netherlands. Their site challenged and seduced and in many ways, they were like gods to other net artists. Their early net art works are still visible today, and there are extensive archives of their projects online. Like many interested in technology and new media, JODI also created installations and later experimented with iOS apps (ZYX launched in 2012 and ZYX-FX in 2013).
JODI’s websites are simultaneously confrontational and playful. From day one, their projects and coy presence which was often a non-presence, as they let their work speak for itself was knowingly ironic and sarcastic, yet simultaneously so ingeniously complex and engaging that audiences and viewers did not mind being challenged and manipulated. In their first solo exhibition in Los Angeles, they are true to form, presenting an evocative and hard to navigate installation.
JODI has turned the gallery space on its head, creating a mirror image of the gallery’s concrete 1970s style sectioned ceiling on the floor. Viewers are asked to put on white booties before entering the cardboard recreation and stepping into the gridded layout to make their way to the back gallery. According to the press-release, the concept for the installation began as joke, when JODI emailed the gallery a doctored image of the ceiling flipped upside down suggesting the idea that audiences could walk on walls, offering a sort of impossible logic. The ah-ha moment occurred through this transformation— creating the illusion of walking in a mirrored space. Because JODI is mired in all things technological, it would be unlikely that they would produce a solely analogue installation and true to form, the space is mapped and wired so that viewers’ movements are tracked and scanned with a 3D-image scanner that transmits real-time 3D maps of visitors in the space. Projected on the wall in the back gallery is a black and white 3D visualization that viewers can interact with, spinning the image along the X, Y and Z-axis and zooming in to examine the captured and redrawn details of the mirrored environment. Also on view is a webpage with a grid of 3D scans depicting people looking at art in museum spaces.
These computer generated and processed images are painterly illusions that only partially display what was captured by the camera’s lens, calling attention to the imprecision of data. The installation juxtaposes real and digitized spaces, asking viewers to compare and contrast these experiences. Can a visualization ever replicate the power of being there? The experience of stepping through and over a cardboard replica of the ceiling on the floor far exceeds watching or interacting with a screen. Perhaps this is the point. To step back and away from the virtual in order to see the analogue world for all it can be?
980 S ARROYO PKWY #200
PASADENA, CA 91105