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Transmitting California

By Rhizome

One of the most politically engaged works currently on view at the Istanbul Biennial is Rene Green's 2004-06 'Code: Survey,' commissioned by the California Department of Transportation. The starting point of the project is the fact that 'California is a specific and an imaginary location that can be perceived as a giant transmitter. It consists of dream factories, many modes of transport and a constant transmission of electronic signals.' However, as Green asks, 'amidst this production and diffusion, what else occurs?' In order to address this problem, Green has developed a powerful examination of today's global flux of people and goods by bringing together diverse documentary sources on geography in general, and contemporary individual and collective uses of the territory in particular. In Los Angeles, at the California Department of Transportation District 7 Headquarters Building, Green has installed 168 one-foot-square glass panels containing photographic, graphic, and typographic materials related to this theme. In Istanbul, prominence is given to the online installment of the piece, with a set of computers allowing the viewer to explore a variety of visual and textual information--divided into images, codes, and keywords--that further consider this issue. As someone once put it, 'what emerges from this engagement with data, space, and time allows one to... question utopian claims of freedom associated with mobility.' Green thus continues her investigation into the gaps and shifts existing between the public and the private spheres and how these construct the prevailing visions of the world. - Miguel Amado

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