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Westward

Estimate: 2x2x2 meters fenced area, 50x50x180 cm surveyor’s tripod
Multimedia Installation


Proposed as a collaboration with Devin Horsman

When encountering our work, viewers will first notice a fenced area and surveyor’s tripod. From all angles, except from the perspective of the surveyor’s stand, there will be a warped image projected on the floor, contained by the fenced area. Only by taking the magisterial gaze of the surveyor will the projection’s image resolves itself, revealing a seemingly endless space underneath the floor, containing row upon row of data processing and storage units.The audio component will be too quiet to be decipherable from the position of surveyor’s stand, but entices to the viewer to get closer to its source. As the viewer follows the audio towards the projection, the illusion of the projection deteriorates and they become aware that the fenced area is locked from within, rendering it inaccessible. In this closer position the audio becomes a discernable recording of someone reading Frederick Jackson Turner’s "The Significance of the Frontier in American History".
The death of the American frontier was declared in reaction to exhausting the land in which to privatize; we see parallels of this libertarian utopia evolved and extended to the ways in which we understand virtual space – characterized with the promise of free growth without incumbent neighbours with which to negotiate. Upon closer inspection, this illusion falls away to reveal the physical lattice on which it is built, the enormous datacenters in which our virtual space are dependant upon. The viewer may read that this frontier ideology persists into our digital expanse, the habitual encroachment of common space by privatization proliferating itself as negotiation of space continues to be viewed as a hinderance to those who wish to consolidate power and wealth.
As collaborators and partners, we are daily made conscious of our relational negotiations of space, and its wider implications. All spaces (private, civic and virtual) are governed by ideas of rightful ownership and occupancy, which reveals a fundamental omission in the promise of uninhibited growth.