Parsec, in collaboration with OTTN Projects, presents 100 Traffic Lights by Christine Bax on the occasion of the twelfth edition of the Chiasso Biennale, with the theme FAKE – visual distortion.
The project was developed over three months, during which the artist worked with various codes that control the operation of traffic lights, communicating to the control systems the fictitious presence of pedestrians, bicycles and cars, existing only in digital space.
On the occasion of the Biennale dell’Immagine, an installation is presented that combines video, silkscreen prints and an original text written by the artist.
100 Traffic Lights aims to investigate the possibility of considering the linguistic nature of the codes that control smart objects as a form of communication that is coherent with human beings. Here the artist assumes computer language as a real language, with its authority, rules and structure. It is only based on this assumption that Bax can intervene in reality, using a tool – computer language – which, while questioning it, shares its basic structure.
At the centre of his work Bax places the traffic light as a fact, an instrument useful for a well-defined purpose, which should bring with it a certain degree of truth and certainty. The red, yellow and green lights have a precise and unequivocal meaning, but when the code that informs them is taken up by the artist as language, the facts are no longer fixed and predictable and the three options of meaning are replaced by infinite possibilities.
Faced with a mise-en-scène in which traffic lights flash free of preconceived patterns, how do you behave when you cannot trust your own eyes?
The fakeness of 100 Traffic Lights is theatrical fiction, the pure mise-en-scène, the slapstick that makes the narrative wobble and opens up the unexpected, and so the traffic lights, information signs and luminous signals in the video become gag-images that wink at passers-by, eccentrically interrupting their functional routine.
Fiction in Bax’s work takes on an ironic tone and acquires a positive and propositional role in that it opens up the imagination, breaks the limit of functionality and leads to the manifestation of code as a poetic language.
If poetry is the excess that goes beyond pre-established limits, What if? – the work’s pivotal question – is to imagine rather than to execute.
It is through the poetry of language that the image in Bax’s work becomes fake or artificial since it prescinds from the truth and shows multiple possibilities of representation, breaking with the norm of syntax, revealing other meanings and going beyond pre-existing limits.
The exhibition will be on view from 17 September to 17 October 2021 at the premises in Via Rampa 14, Chiasso.
On Sunday 19 September at 3 p.m. at the exhibition space, the publication WHEN TRAFFIC LIGHTS SPEAK will be presented, with an essay by the artist and edited by Parsec in collaboration with OTTN Projects.
The project has been realised thanks to the support of the Mondrian Fund.