Review: H-A-C-K @ Färgfabriken, Sweden

An audio-visual journey to the past

The contemporary art institution Färgfabriken in Sweden launches this autumn with flicker and noise. The exhibition H-A-C-K between consists of an interactive audio-visual sculpture from different kinds of used electronic elements, which all together before have had a function in the human life. TVs, old vinyl players, HIFI equipment, and CD-players have been piled up on each other and stand next to each other to make an sculpture, that secretes sound and light in the darkened exhibition room. The sculpture appears unpredictable and without directions, like an untamed beast, that refused to arrange itself in the present, and instead bears witness of a time that has past and its specific history. As a visitor you meet the sculpture with sorrow, and ask yourself what happened with that old and beloved HIFI equipment that you owned, and shared a lot of experiences with.

The audio artists Håkan Lidbo and Andreas Tilliander together with the visual artist Joel Dittrich have approached the question about the technology’s perishability and replaceability with their exhibition H-A-C-K . A question that within the present exhibition investigates what happened with our used electronic equipment, which still is around us in form of relics and discarded material. Although the artists have a close connection to the electronic field in their work, the question about technology could not be considered without taking notice about its historical dimension, in where the technology in its constantly transformation and renewal produces remainders that no longer fill the same function as before. This historical perspective considers the transformations in the human technology as a vehicle in the social development, and as constituent for new forms of production and consumption. In the present exhibition the electronic equipment appears as an expression for a hysterical and accelerating production and consumption in our present time.

By taking a step back, and stepping out of their role as artists, Håkan Lidbo, Andreas Tilliander and Joel Dittrich challenge  the picture of the artist as an genius, and let the artwork talk for itself and express its last noises and lights. The exhibition room becomes a place for interaction between the artwork and the visitor, where the visitors can interact and come in touch with the old electronic equipment by themself. Yellow labels have been attached on vinyl players and other equipment, as an invitation to the visitor to once again come close to the equipment, and their functions. This interactive method has also been strengthened in the exhibition by a camera, that constantly streaming the sculpture in real-time on Internet. A method that dissolves the artist and lets the work communicate by itself to the visitors. This part of the artwork challenges the art experience as a social practice and emancipates the art from the artist as an authoritarian subject and the exhibition room as the only space and field for art. The artwork becomes a possibility to express itself without social constraints that force the artwork into determined interpretations.

The exhibition H-A-C-K is an interesting contemporary portrayal with light and sound, which expresses a poetic feeling. The used electronic equipment, that has been placed in the exhibition room tends to repeat its own existence, by once again serve the humans with their need for cultural expressions. Färgfabriken, with their focus at contemporary art managed to arrange a place, where questions about the human’s relationship to electronic equipment, as products for economical and cultural consumption, can be asked and discussed.

Link to the audio-visual sculpture in real-time http://h-a-c-k.se

written by: Henrik Örnlind

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