Saturday, 25 August 2012

In The Window : Ryan Hughes " Untitled [Firewall]"


In The Window
Ryan Hughes - Untitled [Firewall]
25th August - 1st September



My practice is a web of aesthetic minimalism, social media, global communication and an exploration of web 2.0 more generally as well as using pseudo-architecture and techno culture to change the audience into a user group. Once a work is researched and conceptualised I tend to make it quickly to reflect the short attention spans which are often credited to the internet age; I consider my work to be suffering from IADD (Internet Attention Deficit Disorder), just like much of its audience. Due to its nature my work tends to be participatory or preformative (both of those words are used very loosely) and to encourage this I engage with minimal aesthetics as I feel that the minimal can provide an easily accessible framework for the interactions I have discussed, this is important when the audience is asked to deal with several quite complex situations or forms at once.



Untitled (Firewall)” deals with several problematic issues around physical and digital spaces and levels of access to these spaces as well as how we interact (and who is interacting) with art in the technological age, how art (and technology) responds to location and it questions how the gallery itself can be used. The title of the work remains open to allow this variety of issues to intermingle freely.

firewall n 1 a fire proof wall or partition used to impede the progress of a fire. 2 Computing. a computer system that isolates another computer from the internet in order to prevent unauthorized access. [1]


Firewall is a term I’ve been considering for some time. It is undeniably current but is made up of two cornerstones of ancient civilisation; fire and walls. Within this contradiction there are also multiple meanings, it is both architectural and digital, it is, like many forms that are utilised within my practice, both virtual and physical. This ambiguity is something which made me certain I could make work around the ideas inherent to firewalls. The work is only going to be visible whilst the gallery is closed, this way the work stops access to space in the same way that firewalls stop access to information, if the gallery is open then the work will be turned off, this process of eliminating and allowing access reflects not only digital processes but physical ones as well. Physically the work consists of (for this incarnation anyway) a back projected mobile phone video of fire and a series of roller blinds, the blinds enforce the works relation to the built environment whilst also evoking the fluid nature of both corporeal and data movement, it is for this reason that the blinds are left as plain fabric, as this allows for multiple readings to occur. The low resolution mobile phone video makes the relation to digital processes cement.



Santiago Sierra explored this idea of denying access to gallery spaces during 2003’s Venice Biennale with his work “Wall Enclosing a Space”[2] which I find to be a really interesting piece, however, Sierra’s work seems to ignore the technological forms of interaction which make up much of today’s terrain for both the production of art and for all other areas of the human condition.


[1] Collins English Dictionary and Thesaurus; pp.446; HarperCollins Publishing; 2010; Glasgow, UK
[2] Bishop, C; Installation Art: A Critical Introduction; pp.120-122; Tate Publishing; 2005; London, UK

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