Inspace, Crichton Street
5 August – 5 September
An exhibition featuring pieces from nine Alt-w funded artists, Reveal/Reset is an evocative and thought-provoking inquiry into digital cultures of communication and expression.
At times deeply unsettling, the exhibition deals broadly with digital morality, communication overload and fracture, expression and misinterpretation, and perhaps most importantly and effectively with the role of the individual within and without a virtual space increasingly integral to physical reality.
Perhaps the most powerful work, A Short Film About War (2009) by Thomson and Craighead, mixes an audio track of blog-post narratives over Google Earth and Flickr images to create a digital collage simultaneously personal and global. This posits a juxtaposition of microcosmic and macrocosmic experience and expression compounding personal narratives and mobile phone camera journalism with global geography, history, war and famine. The Google Earth zoom function serves as the mediator within this ‘Atlas Universale’, between ‘ground zero’ and ‘beyond the span of the human.’ The piece further highlights the evolution of digital journalism, the democratisation of information, and the perhaps worrying way in which personal events can be boiled down to a narrative of stock photographs.
Other highlights include Paul Holmes and Wendy McMurdo’s skater; a study in association and misinterpretation within the darker recesses of cyberspace which raises questions about the relevance of everyday morality within the virtual sphere. FOUND’s Cybraphon (2009), a digitally responsive and adaptive robotic music box, merges notions of automated/user-defined audio content for the itunes generation with slightly sinister associations of empty fairgrounds and moustachioed Victorian ringmasters.
The exhibition is engaging and very clever; the conceptual elements are sound and methods of expression almost universally sensitive and affectionate. Though certain elements are unsettling the pieces are certainly not devoid of humour and whilst not necessarily extensive in terms of quantity, the sheer standard of this exhibition recommends it as one of the highlights of Edinburgh’s Art Festival.