Jon Kessler "The Web"

Swiss Institute Contemporary Art

poster for Jon Kessler "The Web"

This event has ended.

Swiss Institute and Metamatic Research Initiative (MRI), Amsterdam presents The Web, a new immersive installation by Jon Kessler. Since 2009 MRI has commissioned contemporary artists to reflect the legacy of the late Swiss artist Jean Tinguely (1925-1991), well known for his kinetic sculptures. Similarly, the work of Jon Kessler builds a bridge between mechanics and electronics, the analog and digital. The Web addresses our dependence on mobile devices and social media. It is a staged daydream on the verge of a nightmare. The circuit turns toward the tech industry and its all-encompassing seduction.

The Web is an immersive installation that addresses the significance of the Internet and mobile devices in our lives while simultaneously examining the role of the viewer. The idea for the piece came to Jon Kessler on a New York subway ride when he realized that at least half of the riders were speaking on their cell phones, sending text messages, playing video games, or otherwise immersing themselves in their networked mobile devices.

The Web offers both an accessible and impermeable user experience, the title referencing a closed-circuit network accessed by viewers. Upon entering the exhibition, visitors are invited to download an iPhone app that feeds their images in real time onto surrounding monitors. Simultaneously pictured and reframed in Kessler’s sculpture Infinite Regress, spectators render themselves as nodes within a feedback network, the space a physical support for their virtual daydreams. Kessler’s creation broadcasts collected data, targeting viewers with images of themselves, their experience, and ultimately enticing input and generating output.

Much like the Internet itself, The Web acts as both a sentient organism and an environmental space: it facilitates the internal circuit between viewer, camera, and monitor, while simultaneously doubling as a sprawling architectural structure. While The Web conceptually foregrounds the role of networked technologies and our dependence on them, it is in many ways a tribute to direct experience. The viewer of The Web is repositioned among fellow viewers, with the feeling of sensory dislocation condensed into one geographic location—the exhibition space—and recast as a form of shared collective immersion.

Jon Kessler’s work explores the connection between bodily movement and technical apparatus, often deploying mechanisms and video to facilitate this relationship. He has had solo exhibitions at MoMA PS1, New York; the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; the Phoenix Kulturstiftung; Sammlung Falckenberg, Hamburg, Germany; the Louisiana Museum of Moderne Kunst, Copenhagen, Denmark; and most recently, the Fisher Landau Center for Art, New York. Kessler has been awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship as well as honors from the Foundation of the Performing Arts; he is a professor at Columbia University’s School of the Arts, Division of Visual Arts.



from March 06, 2013 to April 28, 2013

Opening Reception on 2013-03-04 from 18:00 to 20:00


Jon Kessler

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