Andrew Norman Wilson :

    Andrew Norman Wilson: Z = |Z/Z•Z-1 mod 2|-1: The Old Victrola

    Andrew Norman Wilson, Z = |Z/Z•Z-1 mod 2|-1: The Old Victrola, 2020. HD video, color, sound 13:43 minutes. Courtesy the artist

    Andrew Norman Wilson’s Z = |Z/Z•Z-1 mod 2|-1 was exhibited at SculptureCenter as part of In Practice: Total Disbelief (2020).

    This iteration of Andrew Norman Wilson’s multifaceted project Z = |Z/Z•Z-1 mod 2|-1 is a two-channel video installation. One channel reads like video art concerned with the collision of structuralist film, readymades, and advanced rendering technologies. To a soundtrack that combines, among other things, a suspended Donna Summer riff and a Captain Beefheart song, three distinct moving-image sequences come through: first, an extreme, repeated 75mm–1500mm Canon telephoto zoom toward a series of objects displayed one by one on a balcony of Bertrand Goldberg’s lotus-shaped Marina City in Chicago; then a seamless ride through a series of highly realistic texture samples (brain, cracked porcelain, acoustic foam) selected from Substance Source, an online database for “physically based rendering”; and, finally, a series of infinite, reflective, 3D landscapes produced by fractal algorithms typically deployed for cinematic effects.

    The other channel uses matching, roughly synchronized imagery, but is set to an overhead soundtrack that feels like something between a confessional monologue and a manic director’s commentary, which, in a sense, it is. Z = |Z/Z•Z-1 mod 2|-1 is the start of a longer, metafictional documentary project that follows the relationships and interests of a group of disillusioned, mostly privileged, former artists who decide to embark on experiments in child rearing and product design. Like the zooming videos and animations, this script and the conversations it relays are a somewhat relentless exercise in turning over and over something that might not actually be a thing in a realist sense. For example, a heated debate erupts that engages the philosophical tenets and ethics of Pokémon, which, as a fractal flythrough plays on the screen, seems as infuriating and productive as the scrutiny or extensive observation of any real-life scenario, and perhaps a more attractive alternative.

    Z = |Z/Z•Z-1 mod 2|-1 was produced through the leading support of Seven Gravity Collection and Ordet, Milan, with additional support from DOCUMENT Chicago and SculptureCenter.