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Obituary is the first large scale, solo work presented by artists Jon Thomson and Alison Craighead. Having investigated the intersections of popular belief, new technologies and surveillance in numerous video, multi-media, audio and internet works, the gallery space at 30 Underwood Street offers them a unique opportunity to bring these concerns together in one environment.
In an era which some call the age of transparency, the work Obituary is especially timely. As many of Thomson and Craighead's earlier pieces, it explores the complex and often contradictory manifestations of the electronic ether in our lives. This ambient environment, so difficult to conceptualise in singular terms, collapses the ominous surveillance capabilities of satellite and CCTV camera's with the shared emotional experiences that are subtly forced upon us by television, radio, greeting cards and recorded music.
The electronic ether is the space of global media vectors. It is created and used by governmental, military and commercial broadcasting and data gathering organisations alike while simultaneously binding millions across the globe into a an illusion of nearly familial proximity and intimacy. The electronic ether is the repository for a vast amount of usable data on often banal, but potentially incriminating evidence on our daily whereabouts and actions.

Thomson and Craighead explore the layers of emotional experience that are emerging from this vapour of intimacy, fear, power and structured paranoia. In Obituary, they cast a sympathetic yet unflinching eye on a seance, site par extraordinaire for the ghosts of the electronic netherworld to cross the boundaries that separate them from the living.
By projecting synchronised 'front' and 'back' versions of the same event, the projection screen is able to slice through space, providing a seamless record of events that occurred in a three dimensional space on a two dimensional plane.

A small group of people sit around a table. The medium's face is smudged with video mosaic thus rendered anonymous for reasons unknown to the viewer. An accumulation of neutral voices cushion this space with the generic pleasantries of birthday cards and cemetery gravestones, so meaningful to someone, so deathly once sucked up into the mass. Are we witnessing the conduit between us and our dead brethren or merely a more efficient springboard into the banality, illusions and enforced submissions of the electronic ether?

Pauline van Mourik Broekman.

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