Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Strange Attractor-Revision

“The Strange Attractor” an exhibition of new work by artist Stephen Willats encompasses both the scientific and the artistic by merging cybernetics, system research, and communication with film, photography, and collage. Willats work strives to transform the perception
of everyday objects into possibilities within the community of people that are interacting with those objects. The objects include anything the artist has come in contact with such as the corner of the street, a sign, or an animal. By allowing the viewer to manipulate their circumstances through text and images the artist gives free range to construct ones own reality.
The driving force behind the work is the city in which the exhibition is located;New York. By gathering information from the streets of New York, like iconic images, the pavement beneath ones feet, the faces of people, as well as a plethora of other images, the artist has created a complex system linking minute details of the city and the people dwelling within it.
The exhibition is located in a large spacious gallery with windows overlooking the city and the work spans the entire room. The pieces are placed so that the viewer must move around them in order to see them in their entirety.

The largest piece in the exhibition is entitled “Data Stream Portrait of New York.” The piece consists of a free standing wall, which is covered in small square images, linked by a thin black line. The photos consist of images of city life and moments that occur within. By assembling the work in this way the artist has left most of the interpretation up to the viewer enabling that viewer to make their own decisions about which image should be linked with the next. By moving from image to image viewers can create a story and relate that to their own experiences in the city.

“How the future looks from here” is another work within the exhibition. The piece is centered around a Brooklyn family who is striving for a harmonious future. It includes images of the family merged with text centered around a concern the couple has, and ending with that concern becoming a reality. The reality becomes a factor that the couple must deal with in order to move forward towards happiness. By choosing to change the way they think about technology and its influence within their lives the couple changes their reality in turn making them happy. Giving the couple and the viewer the choice to change their circumstances allows for the manipulation of reality and the changing of situations.

“The Strange Attractor” successfully conveys the artists concept of humans controlling their own reality through work that encourages the viewer to create their own story.


  1. Hello Erin...right...overall there isn't much that needs to be corrected here from my standpoint. Your article is both informative and concise....a writing element that I need to work on myself.

    There are a few structural alterations that must be made. Paragraphs are essential as it makes for easier reading. Moreover with the exception of the last three paragraphs, everything else doesn't possess that same fluidity. Instead of repeating how the works instil a new- found reality within the viewers, perhaps a little more description is required of the other pieces that have interestingly "consumed" the large gallery space as you stated.
    Additionally a distinction between what mediums the works incorporate would help in understanding how they function instead of terming them as "images" or "the work."
    Lastly no matter how much I fall into the trap of blurring my subjective statements with my objective analysis, I still believe a personal opinion, whether formal or informal, always lends to a more animated and compelling read than one that is simply monotonous.

    Solid writing nonetheless!

  2. Thanks! I keep forgetting to write in my own opinion, I guess I'm just not used to writing this way so I'm learning. Thanks for the comment!