DS + R and the bar at the Orangerie
February 22 – March 30, 2013
Bortolami is pleased to present Ben Schumacher’s first solo show at the gallery, running from February 22 – March 30, 2013, with an opening reception on February 22nd from 6-8 PM. Titled D S + R and the bar at the Orangerie, the show will include a collaboration and exchange with New York based architecture firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro; an employee from the firm will work in the gallery for the duration of the show, restoring early models from competitions and realized projects. At the office of Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Schumacher will install several works available to the public through images.
The exhibition will be an interconnected weaving of different elements: beside the architectural models and the employee’s desk, there will be marble sculptures of cable management racks; lights made from reconfigured Ikea fixtures wrapped in handmade leather sleeves; a series of free-standing glass sculptures with three-dimensional composite prints and vinyl imagery; small figurative paintings; still packaged Ikea shelves set in plexi boxes with inserted rapid prototypes; functioning tablet screens set into marble slabs. The diverse elements form a fluid, layered effect, both in the exhibition as a whole, and in the individual works.
The title refers to the architecture of modern modes of information transmission, comparing the contemporary use of data centers as storage to the cultivation of foreign plants year-round in orangeries. The greenhouse acts as a chassis for the preservation of botany that could otherwise not be sustained locally, rendering fruit available regardless of season or location, just as the internet provides immediate global information, available at the same time everywhere. Looking at the Orangerie as the 20th century architectural space for cultivation and storage, the gallery becomes a metaphor for the internet “cloud”, a hub of communication and data storage.
Ben Schumacher was born in 1985 in Kitchener, Canada. Recent exhibitions include “Greek” with Hugh Scott Douglas at Croy Nielsen, Berlin; “1867, 1881, 1981″ with Elaine Cameron-Weir at Bodega, Philadelphia; James Fuentes, New York; Room East with Dan Shaw-Town, New York; Martos Gallery with Ryan Foerster, New York; “Short Stories” at the Sculpture Center, New York; “Reverse Boustrophedon” at Tomorrow Gallery, Toronto; “Of the Andirons” at Galerie Desaga, Cologne, Germany. He graduated from New York University’s Steinhardt program with a Masters in Fine Arts in 2011.
DS + R and the bar at the Orangerie
Accompanying text by Elaine Cameron-Weir
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My dwelling is the shadow of the night,
Why doth thy magic torture me with light?
Lord Byron, “Manfred,” I 9-10
The sun crests brightly over an eastwardly adjacent building, its daily ascent more distinct than usual owing to the concurrence of a particularly cloudless sky and the marked absence of sheltering foliage. The former resulting from a recurring yet unseasonable weather pattern and the latter to the previous days haphazard removal of several seemingly diseased fruit trees, misdiagnosed by the overzealous landlord.
The light flares again, reaching a brief crescendo before angling in the ground level window decisively and advancing uninterrupted across the concrete floor. The thin aerodynamic edge of a screen comes into bright focus for an instant, the beam caught momentarily, like an exploring finger halted briefly in sensorial disbelief after having just grazed something impossibly smooth. Sliding insidiously over the display, it comes to rest hotly on the surface, radiance obliterating precious saturation and definition.
The human eye looks away and bright spots fall slowly in the darkness. The residual rectangle, stuck for a moment on the lens, moves down and to the right, indeterminate, sinking. Blinking, barefoot on cold concrete, fumbling up and consulting the window, sill coming neatly to eye level, wooden horizon slicing iris. The begrimed glass causing a corona to hang around the sun, now a bright orb menacingly free of roof, tree and cloud. Pupil overworked and sluggish, this is the pupillary light reflex, an important test of brainstem function. Squinting, groping for the rough towel that had been tossed over the relic drapery bar, replacing it in hopes of darkness. But a bright fissure remains, blazing painfully on the screen.
Moving the computer is inconceivable, the station already far too intricate, an impossible snarl of wires with outlets multiplied times over by chains of surge protectors, the strange cables now eliciting the tentative disquiet of a foreign mysticism, their exact purpose and origin long faded into the dim mist of memory. Foolishly, the system had been assembled without considering the physical constitution of computers or the architecture necessary for their efficiency: the cooling requirements, the cable management systems. Desperately anticipating total technological wirelessness or perhaps even some kind of singularity, he had acted with the impracticality of extreme haste, as though the simple speeding of his own actions could accelerate an historical inevitability.
This hopeful avidity for the fusion of what came across the screen and himself had produced in him an overwhelming desire to abolish the physical field- a bed, the distance of a room, the chairany perceived increase in separation. This tendency, however aspirational had been manifested in the graceless manner of a dullard (though he was far from stupid) and his odd misguided attempt towards the further collapse of space and time in service of consuming information had resulted not in the sleek streamlining of life but in a cumbersome and dismally inert nest to which he had become irreversibly bound. Too much looking, too much being in front of the screen, in rare moments of lustrous blackness, reflecting his face both witness and mirror, his fervent touch at the helm.
The window, the relentless portal. Every few weeks he was faced with this accidental flash, this disturbing eye that wouldn’t stay shut, shocked awake and open by one nightmare or another. Outside a scorched clump of burs, escapees of the previous day’s efforts, provided little cover, their small barbs evolving to adhere to the fur of prehistoric animals, now being carried off a clump at a time sticking in the neighbourhood cats. Not all animals have circular pupils. Some have slits or ovals which may be oriented vertically or horizontally, some have crescent shaped pupils, some a series of pinholes. The cuttlefish pupil is a smoothly curving W shape.
His resources were limited, he had used all his electrical tape, his only blanket was too heavy for the cheap curtain rod, he had no other towels. He needed his clothing. There was nothing else with which to summarily extinguish the intrusion, save for some archaic printed pages from before he ceased buying ink cartridges. Old receipts, bank statements seemingly from another lifetime, a chat conversation with a person isolated somewhere in the deserts of the Southwest. Thumbing the tattered papers he remembered the invitation he had received, the printed pages a long exchange in which he had eventually learned the precise location of the burgeoning complex.
Wiping sweat from his upper lip with the over stretched neck of his t-shirt, the practiced oft-repeated movement coming easily, he lowered himself to a cushion on the floor. Dirty and dislodged from a long gone couch, the once-floral pattern was interrupted by innumerable marks and a mysterious ball of hair stubbornly stuck fast in the broken zipper. He examined the stack of yellowed papers, squinting at the words in the semi-darkness. Had he really printed these so long ago?
He held them up in front of the screen catching the sliver of light, the opaque whiteness of the pages flashing back at him, black text in stark contrast. Blinking, he squeezed his eyes shut, fingers coming to grip bridge of nose, the word ORANGERIE sent soaring across his eyelids.
Feyerabend_52: the orangerie may seem superfluous to you now but you’ll see the merit when you arrive. I could use your help tending to the plants.
generator3768: I’m really not much of a greenthumb.
Feyerabend_52: There’s nothing you can’t learn. besides, it’s integral and you’ll need to do it if you make the journey here, and I sincerely hope you do.
Feyerabend_52: I could use another pair of hands.
generator3768: Why do you refer to it as the orangerie and not just a greenhouse? You’re not only cultivating oranges are you?
Feyerabend_52: The term is my way of reminding myself of the link between the historical and technological production of appearance particularly satisfying since it sits next to the windowless humming data center. Dwarfed by it now! I have to send youu an image of the progress soon
Fenerabend_52: Anyway, I could achieve this reminder with nearly anything but the ORANGERIE is practical in function for my purposes and I happen to love orange juice and vodka. so the word is a mantra of sorts.
generator3768: I could use a cocktail myself, I’m probably in the beginning stages of scurvy.
Feyerabend_52: ok this is fragmented, from something much larger I’m working on still but maybe it will shed light on my interest in the orangerie in relation to the data center don’t mind the typos/grammar I know they piss you off-
…bring plants from china/India and Africa to Europe to grow fruits year round in orangeries and greenhouses which demanded larger panes of glass than those available at the time in order to sustain the illusion of being in the jungle. As the orangerie becomes a means of simulation another world’s sensory information, conversley the data center makes possible the refined data mining softaware to predict market trends and the synchronization of production and distribution with the ever changing market geographies. The orangerie becomes a chassis for the preservation of botany from worlds away that cannot cannot be sustained locally. data centers preserve the information that is closer to the body. According to Paul Virilio contemporary access to information is characterizes by the srtipping of the sensorial qualities or spatial qualities once attached to distributed information: “we’re still here in the domain of cinematic illusion, of the mirage of information precipitated on the computer screen what is given in exactly the information but not the sensation; it is apatheia, this scientific impassability which makes it so that the more informed man is the more the desert of the world expands around him, the more the repetition of information(already known) upsets the stimuli of the observation, overtaking them automatically, not only in memory(interior light) but first of all in the look, to the point that from now on it’s the speed of light itself which limits the reading of information and the important thing in electronic information is no longer the storage but the display.”
generator3768: I think I should be your translator not your orange attendant, are you still using an online translator?
generator3768: I thought you’d be writing in English by now.
Feyerabend_52: I’m trying to use the auxillary as much as possible, this is translatd from that.
generator3768: ohyeah the auxillary, so you’re going from French to the auxillary, to English?
Feyerabend_52: Yes. Did you know in the time of Galileo, optical theory could not account for phenomena that were observed by means of telescopes?
generator3768: That last part- the limitations of the speed of light reminds me of Laplace’s demon
generator3768: There has recently been proposed a limit on the computational power of the universe, i.e. the ability of Laplace’s Demon to process an infinite amount of information. The limit is based on the maximum entropy of the universe, the speed of light, and the minimum amount of time taken to move information across the Plank length, and the figure was shown to be about 10120 bits. Accordingly, anything that requires more than this amount of data cannot be computed in the amount of time that has elapsed so far in the universe. Another theory suggests that if Laplace’s demon were to occupy a parallel universe or alternate dimension from which it could determine the implied data and do the necessary calculations on an alternate and greater time line the aforementioned time limitation would not apply. Realizing a 300-qubit quantum computer would prove the existence of parallel universes carrying the computation.
Feyerabend_52: good work with the wikipedia paste very thorough of you
generator3768: it gets the job done
generator3768: but really it applies
Feyerabend_52: I know, and I agree. just busting your balls…it’s funny you mention that because I’ve actually been thinking about Maxwell’s demon a lot lately
Feyerabend_52: applied to information theory of course
generator3768: always one step aheadd
Feyerabend_52: Would you expect anything else from a backcaster?
generator3768: you’re just full of thought experiment funnies today aren’t you
Feyerabend_52: The activity of backcasting involves establishing the description of a very definite and very specific future situation. It then involves an imaginary moving backwards in time, step-by-step, in as many stages as are considered necessary, from the future to the present, in order to reveal the mechanism through which that particular specified future could be attained from the present.
Feyerabend_52: it’s true though, i am a backcaster. and i can copy paste just as well as the next basement- dwelling pseudo intellectual with a propensity for cheetos
generator3768: oh hit me where it hurts
generator3768: you better have a repository of cheetos out there ready for whatever you’re backcasting down from so i have my fix during the apocolypse
Feyerabend_52: already taken care of
Feyerabend_52: but it’s not the apocolypse I’m waiting for
generator3768: I know but you’ve never really let me in on that minor detail
Feyerabend_52: I hope you trust me and understand why I can only tell you in person. You really should come. Soon.
generator3678: what’s that, you luring me to a cheeto filled bunker
Feyerabend_52: Maxwell’s deom
generator3678: Oh I would have thought it was Maxwell’s Demon
Feyerabend_52: I have arthritis don’t be cruel. At least soon I won’t have to use my hands to typw
generator3678: because you’ll be dead?
Feyerabend_52: No, and anyways if I was portrayed as this particular brand of supernatural entity, provided these entities are gendered, as depictions I was inundated with growing up with would have me believe- i would be a demoness
Feyerabend_52: you still there or was that just too much for you
generator3678: I’m here i’m here
generator3678: ..those symbols were first used to denote the effective gender of plants by botanists
Feyerabend_52: good, so you can keep records of male/female plants in the ORANGERIE, like an orangerie secretarie. symbols are ok in the auxillary too, see you’ll fit in great… In perfunctory pursuit of the now retreating beam of light, he had slowly risen to his feet without realizing it. Reaching for a lamp, the printed words clicked back into focus, their sudden renewed clarity slicing through the thickening haze of recollection. Deftly, decisively, he folded the thick stack of papers and slid them neatly into his pocket. In three easy strides he was at the door. Seven steps would take him up and out. As he reached for the doorknob he glanced back, in the familiar overwrought way that bad actors do when their character is leaving to embark upon a perilous course. He saw the bright piece of sunlight now on the opposite wall, having made a transversal journey of the small room, undimmed despite the addition of the strong light of the lamp. It hung persistent, like a familiar image and shimmered there, caught just about at eye-level.