Miguel Soares: Present States of Siege

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Lisbon-based artist Miguel Soares' signature 3D animations render virtual realms in which landscapes, characters and objects provoke myriad futuristic fantasies. In 'Time Zones' (2003), sequences of collaged images that evoke the Cold War accompany experimental band Negativland's track by the same title. An engaging allusion to the post-war world order, this work connects what was seen as a permanent state of siege with our current time. Recently, Soares has utilized different technologies to develop his practice, making it less politically charged and more metaphorical. On view until the end of last week at Lisbon's Museum of Electricity was the installation 'Do Robots Dream of Electric Art?' (2007), that consisted of three robots, all equipped with moving heads, tracing red laser beams on the gallery wall in the rough outlines of human bodies. Bringing together Philip K. Dick's science fiction best-seller 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?,' in which the main character is an android, with the imagery of cave painting, Soares combines representations of the past and the future into an allegory for present society. Another notable work is 'Jumping Nauman' (2006), that is currently featured in the group show 'Stream,' presented by New York's White Box. Using the Google Earth software, this video compiles the exhibition spaces in which Bruce Nauman work was shown in 2006-- from New York's Andrea Rosen Gallery to the Berlin Biennale--thus illustrating the global economy of today's art scene. A sort of digital appropriation artist 'fascinated by things that do not exist'--as he once put it--Soares' output is one of the most significant in the contemporary expanded field of new media, in which concept is taking the place of the once prevailing high-tech fetishism. - Miguel Amado