Reception: September 12th > 5-8 PM

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Re-convergence (Algorithmic Archaeology)

Excuse me, I said. I thought you were a trout stream. I’m not, she said.

– Richard Brautigan, Trout Fishing in America.

‘Sometimes classified as secret, private or public, […] draft or proof’, Sean Snyder’s exhibition originates from a fragment of the Wikipedia entry for the word “document”. Furthermore, it is defined as ‘any concrete or symbolic indication, preserved or recorded, for reconstructing or for proving a phenomenon, whether physical or mental.’

The exhibition addresses the status of a document and consists of a matrix of disparate elements registered in the artist’s memory. It attempts to address the status of image production at present. DOCUMENT’s circumstance as a gallery and a commercial digital service entity is inscribed in the mental conception and physical presentation of the exhibition, which generates an internal production – distribution loop. Simultaneously converting and re-converting a digital and a physical, a real and an ephemeral, a high art and a consumer product, the presentation questions the very stability of the lines of divisions, yet sketching the ground plans of something that can be reactivated and used as evidence. Through actively engaging with public institutions, the artist excavates historical data that would otherwise remain invisible.

Convergence, a Jackson Pollock painting from 1952, reproduced as a puzzle was purchased via ebay. The scattered pieces of the puzzle are displayed on a surface of horizontal structure (Horizontal Propagation, 33 cm height x 119 cm length x 99 cm width). The structure is scaled to 50 percent of the size of the original painting that hangs in the Albright Knox Art Gallery. The painting’s political dimension and its being an element of Cold war propaganda as a representative of ideology of freedom and American exceptionalism with alleged CIA involvement in promotion of Abstract Expressionism is now more than a rumor of art history, but is not yet documented. In order to produce a (framed) document, Snyder contacted the CIA via email and asked a question regarding the utilization of art as a weapon during the Cold War. A print of the automated response confirming the reception of the question is dis-played in Question To The CIA (Abstract Expressionism), (black and white archival pigment print on matte paper, 53 x 67 cm, 2015).

A vertical video projection traces the location of an intervention by Daniel Buren, Watch The Doors, Please!, commissioned by the Art Institute of Chicago. The intervention was active from October of 1980 and continued for nearly two years. The project is not only credited as in situ, but in motion.

Snyder’s projection Vertical Traces, (HD data file, 1 minute 20 seconds, 2015) documents the location of the intervention visible from the exhibition space juxtaposing the images accessible at present via the online remote viewing technologies. The Google Earth searches represent the location as a rigid topographic scheme while the Bing search playfully animates the route of the transportation network with the rail lines rendered in gray and white, ironically reminiscent of Buren’s iconic stripes. Parallel to the projection, Snyder presents a transcript of a telephone conversation with METRA (Chicago’s public transportation network), inquiring about records of the process involved in arranging of the intervention by Daniel Buren. A number of departments were contacted before an inquiry was made to customer service main number. Transcript of Inquiry To METRA (Chicago Urban Transport), (black and white archival pigment print on matte paper, 42 x 29.7 cm, 2015).

An experiment in what might be speculatively referred to as institutional a(na)rcheology, a slide projection Three Incidents of Syncopic Analysis, (projected images, digital data transferred to 35mm slides, 2015) consists of the visual data (some images were loaned from the MCA-Chicago) of documentation of three selected iconic art installations and interventions that took place in Chicago in the 1960s and 1970s as well as present evidence of their locations. Despite that DOCUMENT is a commercial gallery, the process oriented experiment Three Incidents Of Syncopic Analysis is not for sale.

Audio from an MRI scan, Radiographic Search (MRI), (13 min 21 seconds,  mp3 audio in mono, 2015) intertwines sound with image throughout the exhibition space. Snyder references binding of projected images with the repetitive machine noise of the image producing medical apparatus to a work by James Coleman (Slide Piece, 1972-1973). Devoid of any linear structure, the matrix of re-representations is intended to generate an echo of audiovisual memory from multiple perspectives as if it existed previously.

According to online data, the location of the former MCA and the AIC is 180 meters above sea level, while the location of DOCUMENT is 179 meters above sea level. A printed image of an iTunes offer to purchase John Cage’s 4’33” for 99 cents. 0.99€ (black and white archival pigment print on matte paper, 53 x 67 cm, 2015).

Exiting the elevator that leads to DOCUMENT’s exhibition space, viewers are confronted with an automated sequence from the video game Adventure. The data has been reformatted for a 16:9 monitor, the duration altered, and the beginning and end omitted to emphasize the maze-like structure of the game. (Adventure Fragment. Atari (Algorithm), (HD data file, 1 min 01 second, 2015). Conceived in 1979, Adventure contains a secret room or an ‘easter egg’ as it is now known in media theory, crediting the game’s programmer. The secret message that had been hidden by Warren Robinett in the already widely-distributed game challenged the Atari corporation’s policy of anonymity.

Another layer of displacement involves the data for the entire exhibition, which is digitally backed at an underground data center known as the Swiss Fort Knox. Embedded in the Swiss Alps, the hermetically sealed cache claims it’s resistance to any existing threat and is lauded as one of the preeminent IT-infrastructure facilities on earth. According to the company’s online profile it is known as Europe’s most secure datacenter.

With Re-convergence (Algorithmic Archaeology) Snyder’s constructed labyrinth of references, based on algorithmic structures may seem to follow an arbitrary logic, when it is a highly articulated orchestration of signs and interconnection of numbers. What might seemingly be floating on the surface, might turn out to be far more layered. In the book Trout Fishing In America a big sign said: USED TROUT STREAM FOR SALE. MUST BE SEEN TO BE APPRECIATED. What page it’s on supposedly depends on which copy is available.

He is represented by Galerie NEU (Berlin), Galerie Chantal Crousel, (Paris) and Lisson Gallery (London).

His current inquiries can be pursued at:

Special thanks to Olga Bryukhovetska, Pit Schultz, Darian Leader, Michael Scott Hall, Aron Gent, Sibylle Friche, Ruth Hogan, Hyun Jeung Kim, Andrea Giacobino, Will A. Smith, Karl Cool, Gilles Coudert, Daniel Buren, Steven Bridges, Bonnie Rosenberg, Robyn Farrell, Warren Robinett, Bernhard Schreiner, Matthew Pagett, Bettina Allamoda, Vesna Petresin, Alan Butler, Ina Blom, Daniel R. Quiles, and Chris Clarke.

Gordon Hall

Gordon Hall is an artist based in New York. Hall’s sculptures and performances have been exhibited at SculptureCenter, The Renaissance Society, Brooklyn Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Whitney Museum of American Art, Movement Research, EMPAC, Art in General, Temple Contemporary, Foxy Production, Hessel Museum at Bard College, White Columns, Wysing Arts Centre, Abrons Arts Center, Socrates Sculpture Park, The Drawing Center, and Chapter NY, among others. Hall’s first institutional solo show, The Number of Inches Between Them, took place at the MIT List Center for Visual Arts in 2018, for which a catalog by the same title was released at Printed Matter, New York. Hall’s second institutional solo exhibition, THROUGH AND THROUGH AND THROUGH, opened in June of 2019 at Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, who also published OVER-BELIEFS, Collected Writing 2011-2018, an edited book of Hall’s collected essays, performance scripts, and interviews. Gordon Hall has organized lecture and performance programs at MoMA PS1, Recess, Interstate Projects, The Shandaken Project at Storm King Art Center, and at the Whitney Museum of American Art, producing a series of lectures and seminars in conjunction with the 2014 Whitney Biennial. Hall’s writings and interviews have been featured in a variety of publications including Artforum, Art in America, V Magazine, Randy, Bomb, Title Magazine, Walker Art Center’s Artist Op-Ed Series, What About Power? Inquiries Into Contemporary Sculpture (published by SculptureCenter, 2015), Documents of Contemporary Art: Queer(published by Whitechapel and MIT Press, 2016), and Theorizing Visual Studies (Routledge, 2012). Hall was awarded a LMCC Process Space Residency, a Triangle Arts Foundation Residency, the LMCC Workspace Residency, an Edward F. Albee Foundation residency, and attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, ACRE, and the Fire Island Artist Residency. In 2018 Hall was awarded a Production and Presentation Grant from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts to support List Projects: Gordon Hall at the MIT List Center for Visual Arts. Hall holds an MFA and an MA in Visual and Critical Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a BA from Hampshire College. Hall is a 2019-2020 Provost Teaching Fellow in the Department of Sculpture at Rhode Island School of Design.

Brothers and Sisters, 2018 Cast pigmented concrete, hand-dyed cotton, wood, hand-glazed tile mosaic, colored pencil, brick, and mortar Dimensions variable with installation

Brothers and Sisters, 2018 Cast pigmented concrete, hand-dyed cotton, wood, hand-glazed tile mosaic, colored pencil, brick, and mortar Dimensions variable with installation

Brothers and Sisters, 2018 Cast pigmented concrete, hand-dyed cotton, wood, hand-glazed tile mosaic, colored pencil, brick, and mortar Dimensions variable with installation

Brothers and Sisters, 2018 Cast pigmented concrete, hand-dyed cotton, wood, hand-glazed tile mosaic, colored pencil, brick, and mortar Dimensions variable with installation

Brothers and Sisters (II), 2018, Cast pigmented concrete 16 3/4 x 7 x 17 1/2 inches (42.5 x 17.8 x 44.5 cm)

Brothers and Sisters (I), 2018 Cast pigmented concrete and wood 11 1/8 x 14 x 11 1/2 inches (28.3 x 35.6 x 29.2 cm)

Brothers and Sisters (I), 2018 Kneeling (Brick Object)(II), 2018 Brick and mortar 10 1/4 x 11 1/2 x 16 1/2 inches (26 x 29.2 x 41.9 cm)

Brothers and Sisters (I), 2018 Fold (II), 2018 Hand-dyed cotton 2 1/8 x 104 x 28 3/4 inches (5.4 x 264.2 x 73 cm)

AND PER SAY AND Wood, joint compound, wood filler, cast cement, color pencil, acrylic and latex paint, denim, hand dyed cotton, modeling clay, tile mosaic. Performance with projected video and sound 58 min. 13’ x 23’ x 36’. 2016.

THROUGH AND THROUGH AND THROUGH, 2019, Performance at The Portland Institute of Contemporary Art

THROUGH AND THROUGH AND THROUGH, 2019, Performance at the Portland Institute of Contemporary Art

Closed Box with Painted Top, 2019 Cast Concrete, poplar, latex paint, From performance THROUGH AND THROUGH AND THROUGH

OVER-BELIFES, 2019 Cast concrete, From performance THROUGH AND THROUGH AND THROUGH From THROUGH AND THROUGH AND THROUGH, 2019 a performance at the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art. Photo by Evan Lalonde.

Afterimage, Vol. 46, Number 2

Exhibition Review: Andrew Norman Wilson: Kodak

Andrew Norman Wilson: Kodak. Document. Chicago, Illinois: January 11–February 23, 2019| By Liz Park

Image 1. Still from Kodak (2018) by Andrew Norman Wilson; © 2018 Andrew Norman Wilson; courtesy the artist and DOCUMENT.


Andrew Norman Wilson’s thirty-two-minute video Kodak (2018) was the beating heart of his eponymous exhibition at DOCUMENT in Chicago. A series of prints that take inspiration from various Kodak products hung in an adjacent gallery while a stack of giveaway posters—of the company’s first digital camera from 1973 printed on recto and a text by Nick Irvin on verso—prepared those who entered a dark, curtained gallery. Irvin’s text introduced the video’s protagonist Rich as a mentally unstable former Kodak employee who became blind as a result of a workplace accident. These details emerge slowly, however, and in short bursts, like flickers of images that stitch together the stories of the character Rich and Kodak’s legendary founder George Eastman [Image 1].

“Your time is up,” alerts the high-pitched and tinny voice of a woman, beginning a narrative that is driven primarily by sound rather than images. A long minute passes with only darkness to accompany her increasingly aggravated chastising, dramatically peaking with “You have to stop now!” The first discernable image finally surfaces—a portrait of a bespectacled Eastman. A shaky voice that stands in for Eastman implores, “What is a photograph?” He answers himself: “. . . a dream, a reminder of how little you can actually capture.” Responsible for popularizing photography through consumer-grade technology, Eastman, as recorded in history and presented in this well-researched video, successfully tapped into the consumer’s desire to hold onto the fleeting moments of their mortal lives. Spiked with nostalgia, Eastman’s steady ruminations on life, photographic processes, and his business empire provide […]

Read the complete article here.

Aron Gent
Sibylle Friche
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DOCUMENT is a commercial gallery located in Chicago that specializes in contemporary photography, film and media based art. The gallery has organized more than 40 solo exhibitions since its opening in 2011 and actively promotes the work of emerging national and international artists. Operating conjointly as a professional printmaking studio, DOCUMENT facilitates the production of works by artists from Chicago and the US. At this time we do not accept unsolicited submissions.