Joseph J Greer: Cache Nexus
November 3 – December 17
Reception: Friday, November 3 from 6-8pm
What appears to the human eye as hidden carries with it a subvisible register. A “Man with A Movie Camera,” Dziga Vertov might suggest, can not only surpass this limitation but reveal the nominal nature of that limit. What is not yet seen is already there. A crucial subject matter of Joe Greer’s Cache Nexus is the allusion to communication network modules, their operative assemblage, and their hidden register. A central visual motif in each sculpture, the Subscriber Identification Module’s (SIM card) hidden registers collect and exchange security authentication, cipher information, and local network information with implicit consent. This cache, the artist contends, mimics parasitic behavior in one particular manner, in its form of pretense. It is perhaps this form of pretense that motivates the skeuomorphic properties found in Greer’s sculptures. From afar, the sculptures appear to feature hands or cranes cradling from above the SIM card at the center. This silhouette reproduces the way a hand might hold a SIM card prior to inserting it into a cellular device–engendering another kind of implication, that of motion. This implication is significant to the artist, as it produces the sense of animation in these inanimate objects, a notion that the artist condones further in other formal investments.
Beyond contending with contemporary issues of technoaffect, Greer’s series of sculptures depict an assemblage invested in nested representations. The sculptures feature hinges connecting separate pieces, imitating a Swiss Army knife, comprising a collapsible multi-tool that features hollowed negative spaces wherein the artist reveals these nested representations. The aggregate results of these formal qualities produce a mise en abyme in opposition to what we typically attribute to the hidden registers in the ciphering of information. From the hinges, separate parts fan out in an overlay fashion where, at times, the foreground surface is see-through, revealing emblematic imagery; logocentric references such as a camera shutter, a keyhole, ornamental patterns, component drive inserts, and other cut-outs. Greer complicates the revelatory quality of the aggregate layering by introducing hinges that are unnecessary for the object’s conventional multi-tool functionality. As the hardware serves as a further affirmation of animation, the chemical patination of the laser-cut steel sculptures produces the coloring often associated with relics. Both are self-reflexive parables of vibrant matter, its withering and entropic shift in the passing of time.
These vital, animated qualities that we associate with vibrant matter disturb within one a sense of our own organic composition. A spirited breaking down of the distinctions between the inorganic and the organic begins to stir. What we deem to be considered as a living actant concedes to a digital pulse. In viewing the works, one dares to venture into the semantic field of anthropomorphism. The hinges of the multi-tool at once allow for disparate connections to be made possible whilst creating an overall anatomy. Anatomy of disparate parts wherein the crane-like multi-tool emulates the look of an ectoparasite. Here, it is imperative to acknowledge that a parasite exists in a nexus of its own. Parasites may benefit from their host (at times in a unilateral manner), yet they are nevertheless an integral part of regulating their ecology.
Through this series of sculptures, the artist revels in this parasitic form of pretense while committing to a complex sense of allegory and speculative potential. The works visually oscillate between flat perspective and depth. The slightest shift of perspective may hide something while revealing another. The SIM card carries this parasitic capacity; it may be hacked, become compromised for extracting data, at first appear anodyne, and all of a sudden serve as a trojan horse. Again, what is not yet seen may subvisibly already be there–Cache Nexus is an examination of how to mediate that contingency.
Text by Misael Oquendo