Co-ordinated by Embassy Gallery in Edinburgh, Annuale 2012 looked as exciting as ever, with plenty of arts events happening all over the city. One of this years highlights was the performance/ installation Portable Black Hole by Tom Estes at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art One.
Remember the Road Runner Show? Simple in its premise, the Road Runner, a flightless cartoon bird, is chased down the highways of the south western United States by a hungry cartoon coyote, named Wile E. Coyote (a pun on "wily coyote"). Despite numerous clever attempts, and the use of a variety of ludicrous devices from that fictitious mail-order company ACME, Wile E. Coyote never catches or kills the Road Runner. But wouldn't it still be cool if there really was an ACME company?
For this years Annuale artist Tom Estes entered the realm of Loonytune physics to create ‘Portable Black Hole'. This successful science and pop-media crossover was inspired by The Road Runner Show and created from the darkest material ever made. Estes' carpet of carbon nano- tubes, which was on show at The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, reflects 0.045 percent light, making it 100 times darker than a black-painted Corvette according to researchers from Rice University, The Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and NASA.
Estes work Portable Black Hole is part installation and part performance and functions according to shifting locations and contexts. The aim was to move the ‘Portable Black Hole’ around so that it is interspersed between the existing sculptures and the paintings of a museum collection. First staged at the Solomon R Guggenheim in New York, 'Portable Black Hole is intended as a visual metaphor for 'the disappeared'. The work is intended as a reminder of the multiple, idiosyncratic pockets of forgotten histories; of absence and the unseen and unrepresented; multiple conflicting realities that exist side by side with the official or recorded ‘histories’ of the museum. On this occasion, Portable Black Hole is sited at The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art One, alongside sculptural works from the collection, and important works on loan a major new exhibition 'The Sculpture Show'. Featured artists include Rodin, Degas, Hepworth, Moore, Giacometti, Duchamp, Hirst, Lucas and others, along with photographic and film documentation and with Ron Mueck's enormous A Girl which returns to the Gallery from its world tour.
Artist Tom Estes' innovative web adventures and conversations are situated within current debates around the ubiquity of new technologies and of the shared delusions of human experience. As part of the work members of the audience and visitors to the museum are asked to take pictures of the performance on their own cameras or on a communal camera that is passed around. The primary source of Estes' recorded images are generated from this kind of public intervention, captured haphazardly on clandestine cameras. The action takes place between moments in the guarding of cultural artifacts and recorded on cameras that are smuggled into instiutional spaces where photography is often prohibited. In this way the audience becomes not only involved with the documentation and the performance but part of a subversive act. The pictures of the performance and the audience participation are published on social networking sites for another, wider online audience to view.
You can read more about Portable Black Hole by going to: http://rhizome.org/announce/events/58246/view/