Gates, Drives, Fridges

Tannhäuser Gate (Not Really Now Not Anymore) 2016, Rustan Söderling.

In his most recent work Rustan Söderling, draws a similarly dystopian scenario. In “Tanhäuser Gate” you follow the camera through the 3D animated, abandoned ruins of an asian supermarket slowly getting reconquered by the jungle it originally replaced.

Through the continuous splatter of rain you follow the monologue of an off narrator in the voice of an old zen master. In a modest tone he slowly uncovers a story about the happenings which took place at this temple of “late capitalism”. Partly whispering his narration alternates with the sound of announcements, advertisements and animals which now inhabit this scene.

In this environment, where everything else stopped working, digital billboards, endlessly broadcasting advertisements are the last remains of functionality and desire. What they promise in this time, lost its function: “ancient hieroglyphs; ATM inside, free Wi-Fi with purchase, 2 for 1 on cup-noodles, promises of beverages variably hot and cold.” It hints towards our relation towards the ordinary objects which surround us. Through the absence of human life their function is rendered obsolete. As scattered trash, as artefacts from the past they reveal their tactile and sensory quality hinting towards our relation with them.

In Foreign Drive a short film by PWR, “a cloud-based design, research and production studio”, collageses this tactile and sensory relationship. Focussing on the subject from the angle of the User Interface they examine how it might take shape in form of various “foreign” objects, let it be through languages, liquids, shape or sound. “Infrasonic vibrations disrupt the user’s thoughts, calling for attention and demanding action.” The white noise of the AC freezes slow motion into still life. Green is healthy, relief upon sounds of confirmation. Coins tinkle, clocks tick, Processing power croaks under the weight of endless bits. Implicitly Foreign Drive displays a large repertoire in Foley work and sound design. Throughout the film the interaction between such sensory inputs unfolds the narrative in a subtle way.

Mark Leckey, GreenScreenRefrigeratorAction Part 1, 2010

In GreenScreenRefrigerator Action a “black Samsung Bottom Freezer Refrigerator was filmed live in front of an audience at Gavin Brown's Enterprise in October 2010. The Fridge stood on a green screen infinity cyc while” the artist Mark Leckey “coaxed it into revealing its thoughts and actions.” While all three works talk about different aspects of our relation towards technology they all share a strong focus on the tactile and sensory qualities of the shown objects. Although limited to a visual experience they examine each thing with close care for shape, material or feel, may that thing be physical, digital or invisible. Through these close observations they extend the usual sensation of viewing and listening. Electric humming, white noise, gongs—clear modest or distorted voices. All works feature an eclectic sound ambience derived from ordinary moments, amplified through strong focus. In this manner it drives each narration and stands in close relation to ASMR/relaxation content.