Art Out: Ornella Fieres: The Structure and Function of hidden Things
Gallery: Signs and Symbols
Date/ Hour: June 14 - July 22, 2018.Wednesday - Sunday, 11:00 am - 6:00 pm
Signs and Symbols presents the first US solo exhibition of German artist Ornella Fieres. The exhibition, The Structure and Function of hidden Things, questions notions of appearance and time, as Fieres explores the transitions between analogue and digital imagery and investigates the information loss generated by the attempt to capture moments. The exhibition will feature a selection of Fieres’ most recent body of photographic, video, text and sound work created during her recent residency at New Lab, NY.
In her photographic practice, Ornella Fieres incorporates science and technology in her existential search for the essence of a moment. Her work navigates the transitions between analogue and digital spaces, as well as the loss and transformation of data and energy in her attempt to capture and transmit moments via recording technologies. To investigate media and time intersections, the epistemological question of image and the meaning of time, she develops different photographic, video and sound techniques that forcefully merge, not only different mediums, but also diverse moments in time. Fieres often works with photographs and documentary film material from the 1940s to the 1960s from Germany and the US. She processes found footage with seemingly alchemistic methods using self-built apparatuses, autonomous algorithms or tweaked software to create new, singular moments that carry lingering digital and analogue traces of passed instants.
In the series entitled "The Essence of a Moment / Fourier", Fieres places found photographs next to their visualized compression by using the Fast Fourier Transform. The FFT is an algorithm that is used for the digitalization and compression of sound and image files. By applying this method to analogue photographs, she combines the analog and digital, merging the past with the present. The image frequencies are analyzed and represented in a ‘star-shaped’ coordinate system, as the algorithm reads the frequency of the image and plots it based on the frequency between light and dark — a mathematical fingerprint of the image. For Fieres, we end up with the essence of the photo — the way the computer understands the image vs. the way we understand the same image. The images next to each other indicate the same meaning, they are of the same instance. However, only the photographic image is accessible to the sphere of our visual comprehension. The “star-shape" of the Fourier transform, on the other hand, can only be read by a computer. This juxtaposition of two forms of representation not only underlines and visualizes the different ways of analyzing data, but also raises the much older question of what an image actually is.
An artist and photographer on one hand, Fieres is also a researcher and a scientist; she develops and utilizes contemporary technology in her photographic practice. Fieres’ artistic practice alludes to history, to moments that once were. We see people we don't know and who are probably no longer alive. Fieres is a photographer that does not take photographs in the traditional sense, but creates new photographs via technology and data manipulation. She creates new images through the transformation, deconstruction and manipulation of the information carriers and narrative mediums, while questions of continuity, depiction, repetition, appearances, perception, readability, time and narrative arise anew as she delves in to The Structure and Function of hidden Things.
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All of images © Aidan McLellan