Walking into Tony Oursler’s solo exhibition ‘PriV%te’, the viewer is greeted by many faces, or more precisely, objects with physiognomic connotations – a huge wooden board mounting the print of a face erected on the floor, along the wall hung various slick and shiny aluminium plates cut to the shapes of human faces. Punctured here and there on each of these aluminium plates are holes, through which videos of real human facial features are played on LCD screens, now and then this eye blinks, and that mouth says or mumbles words, phrases and sentences which hover in the space at the edge of being intelligible.
The aluminium plates are each treated differently – one painted in high-gloss red close to the that of a lipstick, another in gold that is reminiscent of the gold leaves in Yves Kline’s paintings, still another one that is well-polished into a mirror, etcetera, etcetera – they effectively function as the stiffened masks for the faces ‘living’ behind them. Patterns and diagrams are mechanically etched on these plates which one could imagine a computer generate as they analyse faces. These diagrams are abstract not in the same sense of the word in ‘abstract picture’, but in that they do not give any sense of specificity to the viewer – they are not meant to be deciphered – as such and at most this skin-depth cryptology symbolises a general feeling of alienation by the prevalence of scientific rationality.
The artist is concerned with the impact of facial recognition technology and the ever expanding automated databases of individuals at the hands of corporations and governments. Am I disturbed? Yes, by the aspect of the technology, but not so much by the exhibition. It does not present the terror lurking behind the servitude of technology as Kubrick does in 2001 Space Odyssey. But the work are not intended on a Kubrickian mission, instead they entertain this uncertain aspect of the future in a theatrical manner that does not clearly indicates enthusiasm nor pessimism, the exhibition balances itself on that line of mood - much true to an age that is difficult to look beyond the horizon of the present and say with confident what awaits humanity.
討論作品：Tony Oursler, PriV%te