Tom Moody

The Wireframe Series: Sentimental Construction #1Part I

Apologies for the aggressive enlargement and resulting blurriness and artifacts in this photo by Joy Garnett. It’s an installation of some photos of a performance work by Nathaniel Stern called The Wireframe Series: Sentimental Construction #1. Some clearer photos are here. This blog had its own wireframe aesthetics series a few years back so the topic is of interest. Paddy Johnson has little use for Stern’s piece in her review of it today but it merits a stab at a long distance defense. The idea is to haul an Oldenburgized version of a 3-D computer drawing (what might be called “giant soft building outline”) out into the streets of Dubrovnik and photograph people erecting it in the style of an Amish barn-raising. Thus hard becomes soft, virtual becomes actual, private becomes public. The sculpture is not of itself interesting–it is activated through its contact with people (like certain objects by Franz West or Helio Oiticica that were meant to be carried or worn) and by being photographed. In the photos, the softened or molten outlines of the rope building become a classic surrealistically “problematized” image, re-envisioning something hard and artificial as pliable and organic. They also represent a regression or devolution of the CAD-generated modernist box by being juxtaposed against the cobbled streets of an older Mediterranean city, and by their handling by real live human beings. Looks good from this side of the Atlantic and this side of the computer screen.

Part II

Stephen HendeeThe Eye, New Britain Museum, New Britain, CT, USA, 2005

points of comparison to the Nathaniel Stern work in the previous post:

-specifically evokes “wireframe” computer model (or “invokes” in the case of Stern, who uses the word in his title)
-reproduces wireframe outlines as an actual object
-“problematizes” computer drawing with surrealist invention, deformation
-use of materials such as tape and foam core (Hendee) and rope (Stern) suggests folk-like or cargo-cult-like reification or fetishization of high technology
-inverts the idea of a computer as effortless and airy through the conspicuous employment of hand labor

Read in context: Part I and Part II