Illusion is a Revolutionary Weapon
Oct 02, 2006 4:44 am
Has anyone seen this show, up through Oct. 21 at the Swiss Institute, 495 Broadway in Manhattan, third floor, Tuesdays-Saturdays, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.? If so, please post a comment below.
By Gabrielle Giattino
With Illusion is a Revolutionary Weapon Loris Gréaud sets in motion a complex system of unattainable experiences. A multi-track exhibition with no center. A vast network of projects spanning continents and collapsing time. Illusion is a Revolutionary Weapon will manifest itself in the binding between projects rather than the discrete events geographically defined by London, Los Angeles, Milan, New York, Tokyo and Vilnius. On city streets, building sites and playing fields, in public parks and gallery spaces, the works will take their start: from there extending and thwarting perception. Spreading through phone lines, radio waves, television emissions and eventually through rumors and hearsay, units of information relating to the project will cross over, run together and cancel each other - obscuring experience.
Rooted in the deceptive potential of the transmission of information, the project – and its title – stems from the 1970 William Burroughs essay, "The Electronic Revolution", in which the conspiratory capabilities of mass communication and mass confusion are elaborated. Cut-up techniques and the playback of multi-layers of recorded information stand to threaten the comfort of knowledge.
Illusion is a Revolutionary Weapon projects are linked – entangled in a quantum mechanical sense – so that though spatially or physically distant from each other, the discrete forms that exist separately refer to one another: they influence each other and exist in an associated system. Gréaud enables this network as much as the viewers activate it. The impossibility of actually viewing all these projects renders many dark holes in the experience of the Illusion project, but it is the unobtainable complete experience itself which defines the project. One could consider that the project exists in its pure form when not viewed at all, a classic conceptual work - for once illuminated, a project’s potential is diminished.
In Tokyo, with Item Idem and Assistant, Gréaud becomes a director for a building’s destruction. In the style of Gordon Matta-Clark’s first cuttings, a demolition company will be brought in to raze a structure. In opposition the Matta-Clark’s methods, however, instead of keeping the event private – only to be documented by a film crew – the Gréaud project will be attended by seated viewers. Bags will be checked at the entrance and all cameras and recording devices will be off-limits. The only record of this theatrical event will be the anecdotes and experiences of those present, and, perhaps, a mountain of pirate images.
Layers of sound – a voice track that becomes incomprehensible, and then engenders new meaning as if in foreign tongue – is the point of departure for Gréaud’s project in Milan. Transforming the sound of an early Steve Reich tape piece, “It’s Gonna Rain”, into overlapping radio signals, Gréaud will control the light entering and leaving the space through the ten windows of the gallery. Moving electric blinds will mimic the stops, starts and lags of the Reich work. Lapses of sound and meaning are transferring into chaotic emissions, controlling a code of light and dark.
New York will host a kind of switchboard for the Illusion project. A gallery’s answering service will be occupied by Gréaud, working with Karl Holmqvist, for diffusing information in the form of sound projects. Multi-layer recordings on this extended ext-17 project will be available anywhere and be recorded continuously and remotely, from undisclosed locations during the two months of the Illusion project. The non-lieu of the extension project mimics the format of the global Illusion project: with no center, the recordings exist entangled in an undefined space. Following Burroughs, the layers created by the multiple voice tracks will only proliferate the possibility for playback to incite confusion. Information, reports, theories, riddles, noises, lies - swarming around Illusion is a Revolutionary Weapon.
My role is the hardest – to describe a project that on principle defies description. Your challenge is clear – listen to the rumors, spread your own, make your theories, build a binding, but bear in mind that limits approach an infinity as values are pinned on position, time and speed. The more light you shed on a moving target, the quicker it escapes you.