review: partial durations

Published in Partial Durations (Realtime)

Kynan Tan
Perspectives [macro]
Free Range Gallery
9 December, 2013
By Steve Paraskos

Kynan Tan’s first solo exhibition, perspectives [macro] explores the concept of a massive network of points as viewed from a singular perspective. Tan’s idea is that each individual point within a network or system is constantly and unendingly exerting and receiving a gravitational force in space-time on and from each other point within the system. Tan uses self-constructed computer programs to create vivid, non-linear, synaesthetic audio-visual works derived from data sets found within the collective unconscious sphere of the internet. He also projects repurposed archived footage in company with his computer-generated imagery and synthesised sounds.

Inspired by the generally-held notion that “the internet is a repository and library for outsourced thoughts and memories” and Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities where “imaginary, impossible and dystopian structures are simultaneously fictitious and vivid representations of subconscious constructions”, Tan has created 3D printed sculptures rendering the data of sleeping brain activity, which sit atop an irregular plinth standing near the centre of the Free Range Gallery in Perth’s CBD. Each appears as its own city; the physical manifestation of the collective unconscious of dreaming ideas. These intricate dream-like structures are surreal models of the most audacious modern architecture and are as wondrous as they are varied.

The accompanying sound work begins as a projection of nodes massing and connecting with each other in interactive networks that betoken clicking grains. The growing network resets and builds to the call of an increasing number of beeps. Sweeping cities, colonies of ants, swarms of bees and war planes cover the projection and four screens on the side walls, reinforcing the status of the macro perspective over the negligible individual points. The harmonious phasing swamp of traffic on the busy street of Perth’s CBD just outside the door of the gallery ensures there is never a moment of silence as the wooden floor rumbles to the timed passing of trucks, buses and trains like a surround sound sub.

Microscopic particular static crackles like the communiqués of distant sirens. Moaning modems and granular glass orchestras whir into life as quickly as they cease. This is a truly immersive experience where the sounds and visuals are inseparable. The eyes and ears can only discern the art and ground themselves by referencing the other sense.

Drawing upon Einstein’s conception of gravity that “each individual object exerts forces in both space and time, and that perception of time is relative to the surrounding forces”, Tan explains that the weight of the structure affects the movement of the form through time. This computer generated form is constituted by infinitesimal saw teeth that snake as a whole in all dimensions like the lines of a multidimensional, macrocosmic polygraph. Soon after, flocking particles slowly coalesce as a heavenly choir via Einsteinian algorithmic processes.

This is the astounding and original work. One hopes that Tan’s phenomenal and prescient installation is seen the world over.

Steve Paraskos

Partial Durations is a Matthew Lorenzon/RealTime joint project.