Feature – a new nothing

Text by Rachel Wolfe

Feature---a-new-nothing 14 Feature---a-new-nothing 13


A wide gamut of dialogues can be held within the written and audible languages. The same can be said for visual conversations, and yet certain liberties tempt authors in visual dialogues that simply are less likely to happen in definitive forms of symbolic letterforms. For a simple example, if I were to ask, “How are you doing today?” to receive the reply, “I have a haircut,” would be very different than, “my car is in the shop.” Depending on where you are in the world, the implied meaning of the latter response “ makes sense” in a way the former reply of the haircut seems a little out of place. We navigate these linguistic differences all the time without noticing, and yet I do find myself feeling a tension between which dialogues are humorous and playful (not serious) and those that run more on the practically oriented side. Both humour and practicality can exist within an exchange, but the method in which we concede these experiences as real or actually occurring, versus real and not as important to log into a bank of experiences is the attracting force for me in the works Arthur and Grant are sharing with us. They do not allow their works to fall into such temptations the internet often presents creators of visual information, dialogue, content and matter, and rather continue themselves in the manner of coherence, and therefore posit their actualness in my mind allowing for a viewership that stands out as more real, among the other screen interactions I encounter which feel topical or empty.

While screens and the internet continue to open a multitude of personal, critical, political dialogues, there seems to remain this kind of limit I reach with visual information and screens. And so difficult for this limit to be breached, and yet I find this area often approached, and rarely passed such as I find in the images between Arthur and Grant. I have caught the drift that surface interaction interesting may be deemed problematic, but I can only see this situation as a tendency for a mind to comprehend based upon that which it thinks it is receiving. Another way, the screen is not less or more deep than a printed viewing surface, but rather is different and has different demands on viewers for engagement. As a viewer, for me to feel I am going any deeper into a visual language, I ask for elements of coherence-an endurance that could seem redundant or perpetual amidst and atmosphere or attitude promoting the new, new, new, and progress, progress, progress. I find the deliberateness in maintaining a focus on a subject, to be satisfying in that the focus opens up subtle complexities. As if the surface of the screen then, were able to be permeated, and reached into with a curiosity I may only afford myself when directly interacting with the internet and not in a spacial and social space such as a print in a gallery, with all the expected trimmings of exhibition formatting. Apart from the refreshing sense of coherence in a age of sampling in representation, I find, as a viewer, more space for my thoughts to be slowed down and even paused, to separate myself from the popular dialogues those involved in image making are often implicated into, and rather learn the ways in which I am seeing what I am seeing.

In their conversation I can observe more subtle visual signals-that while there remains a difference in viewership on the screen and in person, I can find more of this space in their conversation for remaining curious and without needing reasons or answers as to what they are talking about. I can enjoy whatever may unfold, and perhaps due to their languages sharing visual cues in tone the differences in composition (formal and implied materials) encourage my comfort with all the unknown factors going on in their dialogue. And this is most useful to me, and this unknown keeps me coming back to see what they will have to say next to each other.

Text by: Rachel Wolfe // Images by: Arthur Ou, Grant Yarolin


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