Artist: James Hoff
Exhibition title: To Any Reader, Hide Awhile (Wait), the Curtain Remembers a Useless Landscape
Venue: VI, VII, Oslo, Norway
Date: September 18 – October 20, 2015
Photography: images copyright and courtesy the artist and VI, VII, Oslo
VI, VII is thrilled to present To Any Reader, Hide Awhile (Wait), the Curtain Remembers a Useless Landscape, American artist James Hoff’s second solo exhibition at the gallery.
Taking as a given that our digital availability and the presence of cellular activity has increased in recent decades the exhibition explores a theme of silence within the digital milieu of modern life while merging traditional formats with digital surfaces.
The exhibition is centered around a new series of copper etchings on fiberglass (a material form traditionally used to make circuit boards) that depict cellular-free landscapes captured by the artist in an area of the Adirondacks well-known locally and online as a “dead” zone for cellular communication.
The material employed here is notable for its use in producing electronics and in this case the artist has used a similar approach to render a work that one might take to create a circuit board, but has instead produced a landscape of digital silence.
Alongside these etchings are two USB dead drops containing a cellular ringtone created by the artist that is based on a watermark embedded in the earliest existing score for 4’33”, John Cage’s seminal work on silence. The watermark on Cage’s score depicts the logo of the paper manufacture in the form of a staff with seven tones, a combination of four notes G, F, D, and C. These notes, which are not part of the work, and are therefore not meant to be read or seen are peculiar since the score famously contains no notes, simply a series of vertical lines to note the duration of each of the work’s three movements. This watermark exists as a coup to Cage’s intentions for a composition of silence, and Hoff’s employment of the embedded notes as a ringtone allows them to function in our world in a parallel fashion.
A noted sound artist, Hoff has been working with computer viruses since 2013 to compose music and in 2014 PAN released ”Blaster” an album in which he utilized the Blaster virus to create broken dance music by infecting 808 beats. In the past, Hoff has also created several cellular ringtones using the ILOVEYOU computer virus to infect the stock tones that come pre-packaged with Apple and Android phones.
The Dead Drop, which dates back to the American Revolution, is an information sharing technique that became popular during the Cold War when spies would leave encrypted messages for download, by comrades at pre-determined locations. In recent years, the concept of the Dead Drop has been extended to the digital realm through the deployment of USB sticks into the natural world. Visitors to the exhibition are encouraged to bring their computers to download this new ringtone directly from the gallery wall. Both mac and pc versions are available.
James Hoff, 4’33 (Mac), 2015
James Hoff, 4’33 (PC), 2015
James Hoff, Useless Landscape 01, 2015
James Hoff, Useless Landscape 02, 2015
James Hoff, Useless Landscape 03, 2015
James Hoff, Useless Landscape 04, 2015
James Hoff, Useless Landscape 05, 2015