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Subliminal Machines - Phillip Stearns - Solo Exhibition

  • Location:
    RabbitHole Gallery, 33 Washington Street, DUMBO Brooklyn, NY, New York, 11201, US

Subliminal Machines
03 NOV – 28 NOV 11

Opening reception: THU 03 NOV 11, 6:00 – 9:00 pm
Artist’s presentation: FRI 18 NOV 11, 7:00 – 9:00 pm

“When the circuit is exposed, electronic technologies can take on an
organic appearance. In my work with sculptural electronics, the
components become crystalline lattices, skeletal structures, with wires
functioning as any blood vessel or nerve bundle would. By making
electronics physical, I invert the paradigm of miniaturization which
constantly seeks to embed ever powerful computational devices in
increasingly smaller spaces, choosing to explode the physical attributes
of the circuits to give them a bodily presence.

Under the banner of a “smarter world”, we are inundating ourselves
with objects whose functionality forms a dynamic interrelationship of
dependence. The devices are not yet autonomous, to be so would mean that
they are able to re-program themselves. What this means is that the
behaviour of the electronics is to an extent pre-determined, not by some
heartless machine, but by a group of humans (hopefully not heartless
ones). We cannot help but embed our value systems and biases into the
devices we build.

It is not necessary to accommodate every way of thinking, nor is it
very useful to create the ultimate swiss army knife, to do so creates
unwieldy and ultimately useless tools. However, it is important to
understand that a device can shape our thoughts, that we take on the
same thinking that went into the making of the device each time we use
it. They have their own internal logic, and we must conform to the
functioning of that logic to gain access to the intended utility.

In my work with electronics, I have not built devices to be used, but
experienced. They have their own internal logic, but it is not
necessary to access it. There are deeper metaphors embedded within the
design of some of my works, however, this should come secondary to the
experience. It is there that the meanings can be strung together,
without a deep understanding of what is going on and how it is

– Phillip Stearns

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