Pushed to their margins even obsolete media become sensitive enough to register the signs and clues of a situation. Then, as in the case of the sectional plane of two optical media, patterns and moirés emerge: myths, fictions of science, oracles …
Friedrich Kittler: Gramophone, Film, Typewriter (1986)
Outdated technical equipment transforms to dark and carefully estheticized installations – artist Øystein Wyller Odden seeks to unveil structures in a given material: in this case the very Gallery at the North Norwegian Art Centre.
Technological development is not linear but exponential, according to inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil, who estimates that the 21th Century will see a technological evolution equal to 20 000 years measured by today’s accelerating level. In the wake of this advancement lies a waste of outdated technology such as slide projectors, plasma displays and video recorders. During an artist residency at Kunstnerhuset Lofoten in spring 2016, Wyller Odden created a series of new installations, exploring deserted technology and the specific place and situations they once formed part of.
As a contemporary art venue for 30 years, North Norwegian Art Centre has accumulated an array of disused technical equipment – remnants of once progressive artworks. The centre is located in a complex urban block, where older buildings and modern high-rise architecture combine to form an intertwined unit. The dropped ceiling of Thon Hotel Lofoten continues into the gallery space, while the ventilation system may echo activities at the adjoining Lofoten Cultural Centre.
The exhibition contemplates an art gallery co-existing with its environment, and how technology and standardised systems form the core of our surroundings. By combining and misconnecting technical equipment, machines are released from their functional purpose and become aesthetic objects: mere providers of light and sound, subordinated simple incidental principles and automation. The result is meditative spaces, filled with cyclic patterns.
Everywhere we remain unfree and chained to technology, whether we passionately affirm or deny it. But we are delivered over to it in the worst possible way when we regard it as something neutral; for this conception of it, to which today we particularly like to do homage, makes us utterly blind to the essence of technology.
Martin Heidegger: The Question Concerning Technology (1977)
Øystein Wyller Odden (b. 1983 in Notodden) is educated from the Academy of Fine Art in Oslo and from Nordland Kunst- og Filmskole in Kabelvåg. His work with light, objects and installations is characterized by an intense aestheticism and fascination for technology. He has previously exhibited at venues such as Henie Onstad Kunstsenter and Tromsø Kunstforening.