Daniel Everett’s “Broken Redirect” at Scott Projects

June 12, 2009 · Print This Article

Daniel Everett’s solo show at Scott Projects felt so quiet and had such a stillness to it I’m kind of bummed that the videos weren’t working.

The first piece I was drawn to was the triptych “Omniscience Beta”, which consist of what look like headshots of CCTV cameras on a light pole on either side of an air traffic control tower. The Bechers would have been proud with this execution, which renders the objects as flattened angular sculptures, while at the same time the viewer is still very aware of the multidirectional gaze of the objects.

Around the corner is the first large print, entitled “Many Are Called, But Few Are Chosen #2″, its pair (#1) is across the gallery. The image is a cloudscape, rendered in granular black and white and interrupted with digital additions of angular forms sprouting through the clouds. The title’s biblical allusion, along with the choice of clouds and romantic black and white all point towards the futility of man in the face of god. It made me consider the significance of the attempt being made with computer generated lines and angles to add something to the image of the puffy, organic cloud landscape. The idea of futility or impotence is slammed home in the next piece, “Search Queries II (Self Esteem, How To?)” which is two strings of vinyl cut flags with the words SELF ESTEEM cut out of them. Parts of the letters hang limply, which I’m assuming is the feeling one gets when they search self esteem on the internets. Or buys a book about it. You’ve recognized a problem, you want to fix it, but dude, you just searched how to have self esteem on the internet.

The other triptych on the far wall, “Redactions From Personal Journal”, is three portraits of balls of paper sitting on the floor, with the wall behind it like a horizon line. I like the visual reference here to the cloudscape, the divided plane, the angular shape of the balled paper.  Again here is that sense of futility, the striving for perfection, the self editing, which also made me think of clearing one’s internet browser’s history or deleting files from a computer. You know you did it, you just don’t want it there. I kind of felt sad for this guy.

There was a small gum installation that offered the only color in the room. Stamped into two segments of bubble tape were the words “All I Want Is To Not Want At All” (which is conveniently the title of the piece). I say this is convenient because upon my visiting the top half of the piece (“All I want is to…”) was laying face down on the floor, which rendered this piece completely pathetic and much more dramatic that perhaps it was originally intended to be.

The banner entitled “Search Queries III (Is There Something Meaningful?)” which states SOMETHING MEANINGFUL reminds me of those half assed parties you throw for coworkers and struggle to decorate with office supplies and come up with, yeah, something meaningful. It also made me think of the person who asks this question into the unknown and then answers it, cheekily.

The piece I was most into was a work entitled “Journal” from 2008 that was a 307 page document stack of dot matrix printer paper. It is presented as Everett’s computer history for the entire year of 2008. The front page has his IP address on it, as well as the year. Nice. As someone who internets quite frequently, I was excited to get a closer look at Everett as a person, and was interested to see how he chose to present himself via his internet history. Turns out, he googles himself a lot. As well as things like iPhones, videogames, takeout, netflix, and grammar. I’m not sure what I was expecting, well, definitely porn, which in my cursory page through I found nothing of the sort. The naughtiest thing I saw was a search for Ortho Tri Cyclen Lo. But after seeing the images of his redactions from his personal journal, I couldn’t put too much confidence in the authenticity of the history log. After all, what would I do on the internet if I knew people were going to be looking at it as a record of myself as an artist and person? Probably less PostSecret.

I really enjoyed the installation of the show. The work had plenty of room to breathe, and the sequencing worked. I liked the conversations between the pieces hanging near each other. The whole show was very office-supply-closet-chic. I liked that the work was installed with clear thumbtacks, that the journal was on dotmatrix paper, that one of the images was of a book with one line highlighted in bright yellow marker. I liked the complications of this sentimental work work done on generic, bland surfaces. I was also into the aesthetic success and skill presented through the visual aspects of the show, everything being neat, orderly, well installed, coupled with the almost failed, futile content of the images.

I wish I could write about the video work, which was three pieces that were briefly described to me, but I was told the artist had taken the videos with him.

I missed the opening on the 6th, but the show is now available to see by appointment.

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