Doug Aitken Drops the bass on cell phone creator, martin cooper

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doug aitken’s new installation at the 303 gallery in new york is centered around marty cooper’s seemingly-inconsequential statements. sitting alone, journalistically, in front of a black backdrop, white-haired marty — without any particular excitement — humbly introduces himself. ‘hi, my name is martin cooper — in 1973, my team and I created the very first cellular telephone.’ the bass drops. marty evaporates. landscapes of old tech and new sound replace him. dystopian kaleidoscopes fold in and implode. warm sunsets turn to cold buttons, ocean waves to circuit boards. the gravity of martin’s statements begins to materialize.

all images© doug aitken, NEW ERA, (still), 2018. video installation with three channels of video (color, sound), three projections, freestanding room, PVC projection screens, mirrors. 10:00 minutes/loop, installation dimensions variable. image © doug aitken, courtesy 303 gallery, new york.

doug aitken’s installation, new era, weaves cooper’s straightforward comments on mobile phones, connectivity, and the future into a poetic, dystopian narrative. on view at 303 gallery from april 13 through may 25, 2018, the narrative begins inside a hexagon.

the hexagonal pavilion — where new era viewers will find themselves — features three projectors and three mirrored walls. together, the walls and projections create a 3-dimensional screen for viewers to walk inside of; inside, they become a wall for the continuous loops of light to land on, as the weight of martin cooper’s ideas continue to compound.

a second room connects the main installation via a narrow, animated corridor. guided by an inexplicable flickering, viewers will reach a single work, hanging on a space as minimal as martin cooper’s stoic expressions. titled, jungle, the work captures the opposite of minimalism. it captures endless pattern variations, the infinity of outcomes, as neon beams pulse, ‘jungle, jungle, jungle, jungle’ hypnotically over and over, in different ways and unsettlingly addictive shapes. new era is doug aitken’s first video installation since 2008 — his first in new york since 2013. new era questions technology, interconnectivity, virtual reality, and reality in itself.

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