Centering Device 11Beautiful Void: EntropyBeautiful Void: Entropy (side)Beautiful Void: Big Bang IIBeautiful Void: Big Bang II (side)Beautiful Void: Big Bang II (interior)Beautiful Void: Holy Void IIBeautiful Void: Holy Void II (interior)Corner Portal V (lit from above)Corner Portal VCentering Device 10Double Barrel Navel Gazer Geode (3 views)Another POVBeautification Machines (FOX News)Beautification Machines (MSNBC News)god(s)(dess)(es)god(s)(dess)(es)kitten cathedralthe AntiprismDouble Barrel Obelisk CommissionDouble Barrel Obelisk Commission (detail)Double Barrel Obelisk Commission (detail)Double Barrel Obelisk Commission (detail)
Content Void Content
Content Void Content is Andy Diaz Hope’s latest show at Catharine Clark Gallery. The title is open to a variety of interpretations and these interpretations reveal the personal biases that each viewer may bring to their understanding of the works in the show. “Content” can mean being satisfied and not needing more, or it can mean the things that are held or included within something, or, more recently, it can refer to information made available by a website. “Void” can also be interpreted in different ways, specifically in the context of “content”. All of these meanings can be applied both to the title and the works shown in Content Void Content.

The show is loosely divided into three sections: content, void and content. The work in the front gallery addresses “void” and is anchored by the triptych, “Beautiful Void,” representing the 3 organizing belief systems of our time—science, spirituality (religion) and change. Diaz Hope began to view change as a belief system after reading Octavia Butler’s novel Parable of the Sower in which the lead character, the daughter of a preacher, creates a new religion based on the belief that God is change when her father’s Christian ideologies fail to hold up to the reality of the post apocalyptic world in which she lives. The works in the triptych are based on mandalas or halos. At the center of each work in the triptych is a mirrored void or portal, based on the geometry of Islamic muquarnas—emblematic both as non-representational guides for one’s contemplation of the divine and as an advanced geometry (science) that came late to the western world.

The middle gallery addresses “content”. The anchoring work in this room is a glass, metal and video piece called Antiprism. The Antiprism is a humorous extrapolation of the complaint often leveled at the internet by creatives that the value of content aggregation is held to be more valuable than the creation of new and unique content. The Antiprism is an artist’s simulation of an advanced cultures interstellar navigational device, and was originally created as part of Jon Bernson’s Vessel XII residency at the de Young Museum. In lieu of actual solar systems to navigate, Antiprism employs a compilation of hyperspace and interstellar travel video clips gleaned from Hollywood movies. This montage is then projected onto a rotating crystal within the sculpture to simulate the effect of an interstellar navigational device for which its aesthetics outweigh use value.

The third zone, in the gallery’s media room, represents “content” with Beautification Machines, a return of the artists collaboration with sound artist, Jon Bernson. Current explicitly partisan media outlets allow us to get away with hearing only the points of view with which we agree. This contradiction between the vast availability of information and the limited exposure most people have to it has contributed to a rise of inflexible political agendas. Democracy requires compromise, yet partisan networks such as FOX and MSNBC tend to view compromise as weakness, exhorting their viewers not to engage in it. Building on 2014’s Beautification Machine (now part of the Nevada Museum of Art’s permanent collection), Beautification Machines doubles down on the mission of containing the vitriol of the partisan news media by use of their very own content. This is accomplished by creating a multimedia sculpture with two neutralizing poles, respectively containing live feeds from FOX and MSNBC news. Voiding partisan content for the contentment of all, the counter-intuitive installation creates a meditative environment out of content that was originally filled with emotional manipulation and political agendas.