David Link, LoveLetters_1.0 (Detail), 2009, teletype print on paper
The installation by German artist, David Link (* 1971) is part of his project, LoveLetters_1.0, which he has been working on since 2009 continuously. The installation resembles a control centre with the character of a laboratory. The aesthetics of its presentation seem lost in time, as green letters flicker from the electron tubes above a desk with a keyboard and an old teleprinter printing mechanically noisy texts on paper at preset intervals. It is love letters that are being created here and behind all of this is a computer program - one that appears to act without human intervention.
On the one hand, there is the machine, which is an 'inhuman technology'. Although computer programs were once written by people, they should ideally work alone whilst mimicking human intelligence. This is necessary and sought after, especially for economical or military purposes that concentrate on both rationality and efficiency. On the other hand, there are also people with irrationalities, feelings of devotion and love, tender sentiments and the need to express these. For these people, efficiency is an ideal at best, and any urge to become a 'biological machine' will fail, if nothing else then simply due to the concept in itself. In LoveLetters_1.0, both of these worlds come together.
There is indeed a reference to early computer history as well; the 'Ferranti Mark I', whose prototype was built in 1948. Love letters also appeared in connection with computers at the University of Manchester, where the letters were generated by means of a computer program, as well as with the help of a random generator. David Link has reconstructed key components of the hardware that is no longer available, along with the original program. It was not only a meticulous search of all required functional aspects that was necessary. Another major driving force was Link's own speculations about what motives could have compelled the author of the program.
With his installation, David Link accomplishes the return to an aesthetic that gives the reciprocity between man and technology remarkable depth, along with the help of a more modern and scientific view. He uses original parts for this, but sometimes changes their original function. For example, the electron tubes, in which a cathode ray is shot on a phosphor film to produce the green flickering- were originally used as a storage medium, but they now also contribute to the projection of often turgid texts.
Love, as the artist quotes the German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, is characterized through projection - through the projection that fuels the imagination. It is this imagination that can cause the individual outpours of such powerfully eloquent, but all too simplistic poetry that is now hanging framed on the walls of the gallery as part of the exhibition.
They are the result of an experimental archaeology that traces the function of language, as well as the phenomenon of proximity and distance between man and modern technology through artistic means. Through using one of the earliest computer systems as an output for the production of this reductionistic view of love, Link manages to create the distance that is necessary for contemporary reflection of the phenomenon.
David Link's computer art installations and performances have been exhibited at the Center for Art and Media Technology (ZKM), Karlsruhe, at the V2 Organisatie, Rotterdam, at Arnolfini, Bristol and at the Millennium Art Museum, Beijing, as well as at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Link is a participating artist at dOCUMENTA (13) in Kassel this year.The focus of his current research concentrates on the development of archaeological algorithmic artifacts.
OPENING | Friday, June 1st, 2012 | 7 pm - 9 pm
David Link will be present.
PERMANENT INSTALLATION | @ SALON | June 2nd - September 18th, 2012