Richard Sides: the omega point just ate his brains…
Carlos / Ishikawa, London
18 September’2 November 2013
Review by Laura Davidson
To articulate ‘the omega point just ate his brains…’ as language is challenging. The objects, sounds and projections currently in situ at Carlos/Ishikawa are not intended to be squared off into this type of static structure. Within the presence of each other, the elements autonomously assemble themselves without the accompaniment of an apparent script. Although Sides is articulating events within space, he is proposing a series of events without boundaries or surfaces. Many adjectives can be used to provide a description of the show, but providing an overall coherent narrative seems to list towards undermining the actual work. The show makes fresh demands from art writing as much as it does from the discipline of sculpture that Sides studied at the RCA. There is scant contextual blurb running parallel to the show and this allows the gallery to become a space that is intuitive.
The work spans two rooms at Carlos/Ishikawa: the first functions as a waiting room for the main gallery space beyond. The lighting is forlorn: a red spotlight illuminates a shelf of disordered domestic appliances on the left - a kettle, a coffee maker, an empty glass milk bottle, a half drunk bottle of water, an extension lead. On the faraway wall, a video stops and starts, the scene of a tranquil urban lake appears and disappears. To the right of the screen are three A4 sheets of paper, attached to the wall with brown paper. Set over the three sheets, text generically formatted in Word can be likened to a familiar automated spam output, generated by a type of artificial intelligence. This - along with a short caption disseminating The Omega Point Theory of Frank J.Tipler at the back of the gallery guide - operates as the only textual introduction to the work. There are newspaper clippings positioned around the space and projected on-screen alongside intact and curled newspapers amongst the assemblages of objects. The full newspapers take on the guise of relic amongst the performative operations carried out by the other objects in the rest of the show.
In the main room, there are projections on two walls that are permeated by a soundtrack of various looping sounds, some discernible, others not. The projections light the other objects in the room, rhythmically changing their appearance. The visual information fed into the main projection implies a sense of the limitless and edgeless. A rotating, clicking, machine on the verge of collapse is mounted to the wall in the space of the smaller projection, interrupting the visual and aural with its lack of care for synchronicity. The obvious teetering, failing of the machine gives it a corporeal quality, yet it continues to plough on, with no instruction on how to stop. A constant wider dialogue is happening and the viewer has to linger to catch each individual whimper. It becomes impossible and overwhelming. There is no easy way to remove yourself. The imagery, sound and movement produce an environment that is hyper-saturated, confused and open ended. ‘the omega point just ate his brains’’ echoes a contemporary question about how the human navigates a world filling up with perpetual streams of information.