Clinging to the Nostalgic Hum: Getting Lost Within Wire Forest at Art Matters

Come before the Wire Forest with a tabula rasa—a blank slate. Then again, don’t forget your emotions, your habits, and the people you saw on the metro this morning.

You could imagine nothingness; perhaps that will suffice as intent to sculpt the new world that Valerie Bourdon and Diana Lazzaro have curated as part of this year’s edition of the Art Matters Festival.

“The exhibition is celebrating new life forms emerging from the technological era and the Anthropocene—the focus is not on them singularly, but on the whole,” said Lazzaro of the show.

My experience with Wire Forest was a set of recurring attempts to step outside myself—to look down upon my own naive beliefs and witness their dissolution.

In the space between sensation and reflection is the opportunity to empathize with mournful projections of an inhuman future. It’s also a chance to mock worldly sentiments such as career goals and mortgage payments.

“Each piece explores a different aspect of the relationship between technology and the organic,” Lazzaro continues.

For the exhibit’s vernissage, performance artist Jenna Ladd gave an exposition on this exact dichotomy.

She expressed her thoughts behind the performance as “dragging still hollow frames to be forgotten / A constellation of flickering roots / grounded by the revival of isolated existences.”

Ladd immersed the audience members in darkness. Amidst this was “[a] stream of current solidifying the collapsing body of weakened / echoes.”

“The piece equalizes the moment between breathing and suffering,” she concluded.

Some artists have chosen to explore initial expectations, as opposed to interactions of immediacy and resonance. Amanda Lee’s work, for instance, illuminates and darkens itself according to the proximity of the viewer.

When you approach the black columns in the space to examine them up-close, they draw into themselves and reject you.

It does require some patience, however. The gesture of this exhibit is subtle—best for an occasion when you are alone with enough time to fluctuate between desire and disappointment.

This year marks the first opportunity to observe electroacoustics as an integral part of an exhibit within Art Matters.

With time-based media as a principal feature, the exhibit is circular, albeit without the sight of a circular room. Sound art pieces intersect with each other in perpetuity. Diverse voices wash over the plastic and graphic artworks along the fringes of Studio XX.

One sound artist’s contribution reinforces Ladd’s immersion of the vernissage: Georgios Varoutsos’ “Reflections” surround the audience members in a similar manner to Dany Floyd’s sound piece.

Varoutsos described his own as “a memoir and revision of the years [he] spent studying.” It’s not explicit, but he invites viewers into an exploration of his experiences.

His intent was to create “a strong emotional reaction […] So that the piece in itself develops emotions throughout the audience.”

I reacted to “Reflections” through vivid fixations, grounded in time-based segments: cyclical waves counterbalanced with foreboding bass, tonal motives of regret sequenced to greet and abandon you.

For the former experience, Varoutsos said that he’s attempting to evoke tension. If you stand near the speakers this evening, the recorded potential may bring you there.

In the case of the latter, the minute flourish is a recurrence of “material from the beginning of the piece.” We witness a permutation, a revival or a newfound recognition.

In the frame of the entire exhibit Varoutsos, Floyd and Scharf-Pierzchala—among others—lend you a secondary position to assess your everyday life.

Beyond the walls of the gallery space is the machine—within may be its future soul.

Wire Forest// Spans March 4 to March 18 // Studio XX // 4001 Berri St. #201

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