Euroscreen21 Internet

One Interactive work: Gregory Chatonsky, France:

On Gregory Chatonsky’s Media Art Work:
"Topology of a Translation"

"Human spirit is capable of artistic fiction, the more it perceives - and the less it understands." Quotation, Alain Robbe ­ Grillet, 2002.

In his interactive work, "Topology of a Translation", Gregory Chatonsky produces a computer-generated imagery, an ally of art, technology and the realm of life.

For this purpose he uses, what at first sight seems to be an arbitrary choice of fragments, taken from Robbe ­ Grillet`s work, in combination with three real- time webcams transferred from Paris, Berlin and Manhattan, as well as reduced, monotonous real or artificial sound worlds.

In the center of attention the spectator deciphers single words, the sequence of which seems to be defined by a computer-organized system. Emphasized by an artificial sound rhythm alluding to a pounding heart, they insistently move towards the observer, who is transfixed in some state of semi-hypnosis because these slowly approaching simple terms, such as /in/the/labyrinth/sick/mind/that/Š inevitably encage the spectator in his own associative mechanisms.

The actually visible levels: a) webcam: view of the City, b) typographic text fragments are complemented by an additional cinematic level: the individual "Pictures in the Head of the Spectator".

As media artist, Chatonsky succeeds here on a highly elaborated level in producing a hermetically closed illusory realm, as known in the history of art.
The complexity of the perceived elements, an inescapable flow of reflections on existence, time and rites (some explicitly close to violence) leads to a constant development, a metamorphosis of the conscience.

A fictional game of construction inspires new dimensions of perception, supported by an aesthetically sensitive distancing in word and image.
Humans remain anonymous and impersonal. Three red dots represent capital cities. On the black-and-white world map background, they offer access to a foreign world, where subliminal signs of danger cannot be overlooked.

The complete work of art, consisting of five parts in addition to "Topology of a Translation", is entitled "The Sampling Project". The extensive work generates an enigmatic virtual reality which is in constant flow while seemingly offering answers.
Essential topics remain; references to language, translation, space on one hand and architecture, social relations on the other, fix the observer in a state of restless search for familiar constants.

Integrated into the Euroscreen 21 Project, which shows various reflections of European artists on the subject "home", this work by Chatonsky represents the only interactive piece.
Not only the way Chatonsky deals with the medium is extraordinary, but also his present-day view of the topic. Europe is here contemplated in a global context.
The world map with New York offers an exposed view point and thus renders a superior field of reference.

In terms of content, this work interlocks the various levels of time and reality. Borders between real world and imagination no longer exist. Reality is transferred into an individual fiction and the "I" lacks identity and home.
At close observation, some passages, which in a a few sections obviously originate in Robbe-Grillet`s obsessional visions, in other parts initiate topical approaches to political subjects, attract the reader to a subliminally dangerous athmosphere.

As a piece of art, this work engenders new relations between levels of reality and opens new paths for aesthetical fictions. An autarchic piece of work develops thus in this genre; it initiates a modernisation of our view, embracing the visual arts as well as philosophical theories of perception.

© Judith Nothnagel, Curator
Translation: Angelika Patt

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