Visual artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg’s Totem is a new installation created for Issue Project Room exploring language as an act of power and a force of control. Drawing inspiration from surveillance culture, artificial intelligence, and the research of Julian Jaynes on the origin of consciousness, Totem assumes the form of a ritual icon, eavesdropping on the conversation in its vicinity.
Drawing only on patterns of sound in its immediate environment Totem defines its own language: a grammar and lexicon based on machine intuition, an inductive bias that shapes what is heard. Divorced from their original context words assume new character, meaning and intentionality. Totem transforms overheard conversation and incidental noises into a constantly evolving composition of sound.
Totem is the second in a series of new body of work Dewey-Hagborg has created in the past year dealing with the politics of listening. The first, Listening Post, was installed in downtown Buffalo for five months as part of the Conversation Pieces exhibit at CEPA Gallery.
The opening reception will be held on 4/24 at Issue Project Room, 232 3rd St. in Brooklyn NY at 7pm. The installation will remain on view through June 2010. The exhibit will be accessible Mon-Fri 9-5 and later on evenings of performances at Issue Project Room.
Totem was made possible by generous contributions from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts and the support of Issue Project Room.
More information is available on the artist’s website: www.deweyhagborg.com