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This show highlights the computer’s moment of troubling self-reflection, the moment of “break down”, or “system error”. In an intertextual game, different technologies are engaged, layered, and juxtaposed. These technologies include high-tech of the 1980s and 90s, science fiction cinema of the 1960s, psychology, psychoanalysis, and literature of the 1890s, and  minimalist painting and sculpture of the 1960s and 1970s to name just some.


The computer interfaces, or windows for example, merit interest as privileged epistemological zones because they have become the primary surface for the production, manipulation, and communication of knowledge.


The wallpainting error 2.03: window, aphasia/gering.95 is a work from the window series. Each window series piece takes the form of an abstraction of a basic computer interface. The components of the interface are the title of the selected document, some functional graphics, and the chosen content of the document. The windows  come in varied forms: concepts, objects, and wall paintings.


In error 2.03: window, aphasia/gering.95, the wall can be looked at as a zoom-in of a user surface, the document “freeze framed” as a result of a computer crash. The content of this particular “crashed” window is the table of contents of Sigmund Freud’s On Understanding Aphasia, (German edition; a translation of this book into English couldn't be found in the list of available books).


On Understanding Aphasia was originally published in 1891. The book is a psychological and psychoanalytic response to the phenomenon of linguistic break down and deficiencies referred to as “aphasia”.  Prior to Freud’s analysis, the condition of aphasia had only been considered from a medical, i.e. neurological, perspective. On Understanding Aphasia also introduced  a psychoanalytical concept of language and object representation. Freud established a division between linguistic functions and neurological functions. In the computer age, this linguistic/neurological opposition can be conceptualized as the division between software and hardware.


In On Understanding Aphasia, Freud develops key concepts of psychoanalysis like substitution (Ersetzung), displacement (Verschiebung), and concentration (Verdichtung).  These psychoanalytical terms are derived from mechanical science of the 19th century, with the steam engine as the main paradigm. Interestingly, these terms could also show descriptive value for postindustrial production, where data is compressed, transferred, filtered, and interfaced.


Sample, wi. 95/opt.c. functions as a proposal for the production of a window 95/opt.c. in another material and format. The piece is composed of this window as a small icon; the frame of this window;  a thick vertical zoomed - in line; and the text, “sample of projection of window95/opt.c. ... Also available as wallpainting”.


line 9 and Shut down originate from software environments where language and graphics are instrumentalized, or turned into functional tools. The export and transfer of these user surface elements to the gallery walls serves to intervene in, and de-substantialize, the architectonic space. The effect proposes multiple readings of architecture.


The wallpaintings and Sample, wi. 95/opt.c. invest in the vocabulary of modernism and minimalism, however, they reject the earlier metaphysical references of these movements. Rather, the works stress the instrumental, functional, psychological, ideological, and disciplinary involvements of geometry, modernism, and mass media.


Rainer Ganahl, New York, August 1995


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