Annals of Time Lost
26 Apr. – 1 Jun. 2013
Future Gallery is proud to present Annals of Time Lost, an exhibition of new work by Jon Rafman. This exhibit focuses on the conceptual dissonance of the digital and physical archive.
Google’s description of its mission to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful is consistent with the archival notion of accumulating everything; the will to enclose all eras, all forms, in a virtual place of all times that is itself outside of time. The project of organizing an infinite accumulation of our virtual lives betrays the desire to overcome the foundational and universal experience of loss. In Annals of Time Lost Jon Rafman engages with this utopian quest for the complete archive coupled with the anxiety around its ultimate impossibility.
Yet, as Rafman’s work reveals, the archivist is required to choose what is ultimately going to be selected, catalogued and stored in the archive and what will ultimately be “the history”. The archivist has to decide what is significant and what is trivial, what is core and what is circumstantial and indeed, as is increasingly asked, if there is a centre at all. He/she still has to decide what is real or what is ideal in the history or culture, what is true or what is fiction. Moreover, in the digital world, distinguishing between the original and the copy has been increasingly problematic. Thus Rafman develops new methods of engaging with our archives, histories and cultures rather than viewing them as static collections. Rafman conceptualizes his wish to preserve his virtual archives as a way of re-framing loss.
Annals of Time Lost works towards illuminating the individual’s relationship to the archive and the desire for physical presence. The exhibition is archiving a condition that may not exist decades from now. It is itself a record of the anxiety and unease around where, how and what is the physical self when one is in a social relation in cyberspace. Rafman’s work asks us to implicate ourselves in this process as both the creator and the subject, the archivist and the archived.
For this exhibition, Rafman premieres new works reflecting the show’s title Annals of Time: a series of large-scale images printed using the same techniques employed for architectural plans and installed on a classic blueprint rack. Rafman also re-imagines his New Age Demanded archive–a series of sculptural 3D rendered busts–by using increasingly obsolete technology in the form of an interactive installation with a Microfiche reader. Alongside this, the artist travels forward in time using 3D printing technology to create the first physical manifestation of a New Age Demanded bust. In the same spirit, the increasingly antiquated technology of slides will feature images from Rafman’s internationally celebrated and quintessentially contemporary Nine Eyes of Google Street View project.
Jon Rafman (1981) is an artist, filmmaker, and essayist. He holds a B.A. in Philosophy and Literature from McGill University and a M.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His films and artwork have gained international attention and have been exhibited at Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome, the Saatchi Gallery in London and the New Museum in New York City. Rafman’s work has been featured in Modern Painter, Frieze, Artforum, the New York Times, and Harper’s Magazine.