Suspect Device at Extra Extra

sponsored

The idea of infinite functionality is so pervasive in our culture that we are no longer satisfied with objects that only do one thing well. A phone must also be a camera and a stereo and a mail carrier. This battle between functionality and design is on display at Extra Extra in a four-person show organized by Ingrid Burrington. Burrington, who is also in the show, collected videos, installations, and sculptures that imply a functionality that turns out to be a somewhat goofy deception.

Lauren Brick
Lauren Brick – installation view

Lauren Brick’s got boxes on the brain.  Her two wood boxes with odd openings and her 3D cad-animated videos are a high point. In the projected animations, wood boxes like an old pine coffin or a glass-lidded jewelry box are seen repeatedly opening their lids as though speaking or cheerily waving.  Boxes silently breathe and burp with a childish and amusing imitation of life. The weird contrast between the simplified objects and motions and the sophisticated software used for complex architectural projects or movies like Shrek, makes the short films even funnier. It calls to mind the whimsical excesses of technology: calling someone who is in the same building or driving somewhere a couple of blocks away.

Lauren Brick
Lauren Brick – installation view

In addition to the video two boxes on the floor also defy functionality. The openings are as obscure as possible, creating no sense of what could be stored there, or how they could be opened or closed. The combination of the un-closable boxes with the constantly opening facsimiles in the projection is oddly satisfying.

Sydney Conaway’s living environment/interior design store display contains a number of products that offer up a plethora of functions without fulfilling any of them. One example is a portable lunch belt. Sewn out of felt with pockets for a spork, a can of lentils and some tortillas, the belt has no closures so if it was worn all of the items would fall out. It also has no internal structural to support the weight of the can. Plus there’s the whole issue of getting felt on your tortillas. Who wants that? It’s a silly take on camping culture as well as the DIY movement and looks like something you would find on Regretsy. The display includes a number of similar products as well as found objects like a book about interpreting physical gestures. All together the display is the anti-Ikea—instead of a store full of slick, well designed must-haves for organizing your life this is the museum of buyers’ remorse.

Sydney Conaway
Sydney Conaway – installation detail

Across from Conaway’s furniture, fabric banners by Emilie Fosnocht flow down from the ceiling of the gallery. Each is constructed of large color blocks with little or no imagery. The focal point is a yellow and white panel with the motto “fide et virtute” printed across the center and slashed by a tilted cross. The motto is used in family crests and means “by fidelity and valor”. The bolts of fabric definitely fulfill the idea of symbolizing function without actually having one. They imply many associations but resist all interpretations – neither tapestries, curtains, blankets nor flags. Each panel could have its own connotation—a racing flag, a battle pennant, a whore-house privacy screen, a failed home-ec project. But there is nothing to latch on to, just a sewn stream of consciousness.

Emilie Fosnocht
Emilie Fosnocht – installation view

Ingrid Burrington’s own work is an array of measurements and analytical records with no decipherable system or content. The graph-like drawings on the table and wall densely measure the effects or content or incidence of something, but who knows what. In effect, she is mapping the geometry and language of measurement. She says, “I just want to get all the ideas on the table.” Her collection of useless measures of un-namable data reinforces the uncertainty of any possible documentation.

Ingrid Burrington
Ingrid Burrington – installation view

Together the objects in Suspect Device show up the inherent silliness in our dreams of perfect productivity and control.

Ingrid Burrington
Ingrid Burrington – detail
Tags

emily fosnocht, extra extra, extra extra gallery, ingrid burrington, lauren brick, sydney conaway

sponsored
sponsored

HELLO!

Sign up to receive Artblog’s weekly updates and monthly Our Picks sent directly to your inbox.

Subscribe Today!

Send this to a friend