Exhibition Dates: September 27 – October 31, 2013. Artist: Mark Amerika
Exhibition page: www.museumofcontemporarycuts.org/exhibitions/precipitations
Senior Curator: Lanfranco Aceti
Curators: Ozden Sahin, Jonathan Munro
We are pleased to announce two new commissioned exhibitions by Mark Amerika that will continue an aesthetic analysis of the theme of Art and Economics. Precipitations will be showcasing Mark Amerika’s artworks at the Museum of Contemporary Cuts as online distributed images. The concurrent exhibition Cloud Banks will be shown at Kasa Gallery in Istanbul.
Precipitations at the Museum of Contemporary Cuts explores the contemporary fall from heaven of ‘perfect economic formulas’ in the form of a text-based rain of ideological systems and financial structures. Through a precipitation of words Mark Amerika focuses on the way artists, political and economic theorists, metaphysical philosophers, and businessmen use language as a tool to construct their vision of the world as they see it and how these visions fall from the skies above. As with much of Amerika’s conceptual net art, the title is a pun, one that refers to both a weather phenomenon – rain falling and enveloping the landscape – and the fall into a precipice caused by the failing of financial and banking systems.Precipitations also analyzes the falling or bestowing of concepts onto humanity from the ‘high heavens’ with the expectation that people should obey and comply.
Amerika has taken numerous texts from authors such as Immanuel Kant, John Ruskin, P. T. Barnum, Andy Warhol, Raoul Vaneigem, Karl Marx, John Stuart Mill, and various documents produced by Conceptual artists of the 1960s, to produce experimental tag clouds that reveal both the writers’ use of language and the thematic subjects they obsessed over. Amerika then cleverly manipulated the tag clouds by mashing up some of the texts for aesthetic and political effect. For example, in the show at the Museum of Contemporary Cuts, two of the works on exhibit mashup Conceptual art documents with John Stuart Mill’s Principles of Political Economy out of which emerge a subset of tag clouds titled Conceptual Art Mill. These clouds of words are then transformed into a rain of words. By changing the placement and order of the words Amerika points the viewer towards systems of ideological engagement: clouds and precipitations as obfuscation and condescension.
Mark Amerika pushes the boundaries of his conceptual artistic production by engaging directly with text and images, responding to cultural and socio-economic concerns. This post-structuralist and postmodern approach to contemporary art introduces multilayered issues on the blending of image and text that create a series of relationships indicative of the current struggle to preserve old definitions and hierarchies, which are increasingly unable to explain the current socio-political upheavals in an economic context that is increasingly deteriorating. Amerika’s textual juxtapositions oblige the viewer to read and re-interpret the meaning that the visual proposes in light of instinctive word associations. This is not solely an exercise of ‘viewing’ but a conceptual re-interpretation of textual historical inheritance, ideological arguments and conflicting realities.
The ‘rain’ while falling creates a blanket that obscures our visions and obliges us to rethink realities according to the meanings that are attributed to the words by contemporary financial and economic dealers.
The writings of ‘enlightened’ economists, in our current reality, are descending from ‘above’ and are not conceived to provide the opportunities or possibilities of critique that Amerika’s textual re-assemblages in Precipitations offer to the viewers.
Precipitations presents the spectator with a view of the world that is set and imposed by ‘the high and mighty.’ Mark Amerika’s artworks move beyond the idea of conceptual collages to present a vision of the world that is made of undecipherable constructions, contradictions, multiplicities and vagueness: a world of tenuous connections that, by impeding a clear vision, leads the viewers into abuse and exploitation.
Notes on the Artist and the Artworks
Mark Amerika’s work has been exhibited internationally at venues such as the Whitney Biennial of American Art, the Denver Art Museum, the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, and the Walker Art Center. In 2009-2010, The National Museum of Contemporary Art in Athens, Greece, hosted Amerika’s comprehensive retrospective exhibition entitled UNREALTIME. He is the author of many books including remixthebook (University of Minnesota Press, 2011 — remixthebook.com) and his collection of artist writings entitled META/DATA: A Digital Poetics (The MIT Press, 2007). His latest art work, Museum of Glitch Aesthetics [glitchmuseum.com], was commissioned by the Abandon Normal Devices in conjunction with the London 2012 Olympics. Amerika is a Professor of Art and Art History at the University of Colorado at Boulder and Principal Research Fellow in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Science at La Trobe University. More information can found at his website, markamerika.com and at his twitter feed @markamerika.
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