‘Everything Is Connected’, Alice Anderson
HS Projects presented ‘Everything Is Connected’, an exhibition of Alice Anderson’s recent sculptural works made after performances.
Alice Anderson’s practice is an exploration of memory in the digital world, she ‘records’ objects with copper thread through her sculptures and performances. For the last ten years, Anderson has explored the physical and physiological mutations that transform our world. The artist has her own way of memorising objects and architecture through movement, contrasting the ‘outsourcing’ of memory by digital processes.
Anderson transforms virtual data into tactile forms to re-create a new physical relationship with objects and spaces through ritual performances. It is an act of ‘memorising’ and a means of understanding the world around her, keeping hold of the physicality of objects, as more and more of our life becomes subsumed by digital technology. As the artist says, ‘I always worry to break or lose an object, therefore I have established rules: when one of the objects around me is likely to become obsolete or is lost in the stream of our lives, I ‘memorise’ it with thread before it happens.’
It is Anderson’s own method of ‘memorising’ objects and architectural elements in 3D. ‘Lift’, 2015, ‘Ladders’, 2014 and ‘Door Frame’, 2011 have all gone through this process of entwining an object, mummifying it, recording it for posterity. By measuring an object, obtaining its data and ‘marking’ it into copper wire, Anderson presents us with a ‘recorded’ lift, a ‘recorded’ door frame and ‘recorded’ fire ladders.
Anderson appears to record ‘the physical and material world’ whilst digitisation takes over. ‘I started ‘recording’ objects and architecture in 2010. I believe that this action is one of the instinctive consequences of memory going digital. There isn’t any nostalgia in this approach. It is simply a physical interaction with the present: the digital world gives more freedom, information and creativity, but how are we meant to cope with it? This revolution is just beginning and it’s already affecting the whole of society and all its current models – economic, social and ideological. Our everyday life already sources a lot of its basic reflexes from automated information or service-sharing, through Google, Wikipedia, Uber and so on, so I have to find my own methods of slowing down, of keeping a sort of intimacy with the world surrounding me, of understanding, learning and memorising differently. It’s a paradox, but the more my everyday existence fills up with digital data about the things around me, the greater my need to get to grips with their material, physical data’.
Those actions typically combine primitive and modern, strong and vulnerable, one-off chance and ritual repetition. We might call the result Post-Digital. Certainly it is informed – indeed, troubled – by knowledge of the digital alternative, and goes beyond it to seek new haptic relationships between people and the physical world. Anderson’s post-digital rituals give us a directness of engagement, which a photo in a file cannot. Yet her practice might also be seen, taken as a whole, to be mourning the loss of the pre-digital world, to yearn for the times when rituals were charged with maximum power and objects were restricted to their original selves.
‘Everything Is Connected’ was at Howick Place from May 2013 – March 2014.