Jeweler, Thief, Dentist, Alchemist
Curated by Alden Copley and Ian Costello
Opens Saturday September 17 at SLEEP CENTER
A set of values, never fixed or permanent, guide the cultural consensus of what information is relevant to a given field. Deciding what is significant enough to document is a process of filtering pieces of knowledge through specific intentions and influences.
Any event or object can be approached from countless directions, but our relationship to a topic determines what we choose to learn about it. Take, for example, the chemical element gold. A geologist’s understanding of gold will differ from that of a NASA engineer, which in turn differs from that of a jeweler, a thief, a dentist, an alchemist, a conquistador, a shaman, a prospector or an economist.
Often a hierarchy emerges through attempts to rank these knowledge bases by criteria such as potential for generating economic value, practical or utilitarian applications, etc. This show,Jeweler, Thief, Dentist, Alchemist, operates under the belief that none of these frames of reference are inherently superior to any of the others, and that the cross-pollination of knowledge between fields cultivates nuanced, pluralistic understandings.
One strategy for investigation employed by Tega Brain & Surya Mattu involves re-purposing objects designed for a single and specific task. Aaron Krach looks to the internet community to review a site of immense political and cultural significance. Lorenzo Bueno transforms public transportation into geometric abstraction and records “architectural folklore”. Ingrid Burringtondecodes the specialized construction markings and urban infrastructure that we encounter, and consistently ignore, on a daily basis. James Bridle attempts to trace the origins of figures appearing in renderings, “ghosts”, likely photographed without consent, immortalized in architectural visualizations of structures they will never visit, or perhaps were never even built.
In keeping with the ambiguous goals of the artists in Jeweler, Thief, Dentist, Alchemist, the show’s aim is less to further an agenda than an introduction of new perspectives. Taking the time to explore these new perspectives, overlooked and undervalued, opens space to reconsider the complexity of our world.