Wednesday, May 8, 2019

The CryptoFuturist and the New Tribal Labyrinth, Atelier Van Lieshout

The CryptoFuturist and the New Tribal Labyrinth is Lieshout’s largest scale exhibition. All the pieces were placed in the first floor of an industrial loft space. In the center of the room, there’s a gigantic structure named Blast Furnace (2013). Its body referring to a functional furnace back in the Industrial Revolution-era used to produce steel. Lieshout decided to transform this structure by combining domestic elements such as kitchen, toilet, and sleeping quarters into it. Underneath the structure, there are also some smaller pieces displayed as decorations. However, this could be very confusing for viewers. With the understanding of the Industrial revolution-era, it’s not hard to understand Lieshout’s intention. Lieshout posits that human life is very much related to machines, and following the development of technology he brings up the discussion of whether human body as itself a kind of machine, endlessly procreating. However, this show as a whole was put together sloppily. Before viewers get to see Blast Furnace, their attention got dragged toward these two metal structure that was programmed to have a conversation about human and future. This conversation between a female and male “AI” is very detailed and resolute. Rather a discussion. It’s more of an artist statement literally on a sounds track. I appreciate Lieshout’s multidisciplinary practice which pushes the boundary of art and design. However, this show in a whole doesn't achieve his goal—to bring the discussion of relationships between human and machine a step forward. Overall this show lacks a bit of cohesion. Personally, it looks like Lieshout was trying to showcase something far more complex than he could control. Without the right context, many elements in this show could be misleading. With the massive mean piece, the smaller objects got lost in this show, so is their conversation. The topics he was trying to cover doesn’t get expressed well enough, and viewers eyes were focusing on things that have a lot less depth. It was a different, impressive show, but it didn’t reach some of the expectations from viewers. 

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