Landscape with a Ruin

The World Wide Web went live August 1991. Today over half the world is connected to the internet!  The web is unquestionably the decisive technology of the Information Age. Its impact on a networked society has been fast and furious. American artist Evan Roth’s new exhibition “Landscape with a Ruin” at Mona Bismark American Center invites us to hit the pause button with a long look at the physical side of the web. Roth has tracked—using net art, installations, sculpture and video— the impact of the internet on global culture for over a decade.

In autumn 2014, Roth (who lives in Paris) set out on a peculiar kind of pilgrimage: he would seek out and visit coastal sites where undersea Internet cables emerged from the waters. The ensuing trips form the basis of the “Landscape with a Ruin” exhibition, an extraordinary body of work grappling with one of the most fundamental issues of today’s networked condition: the fast-changing concept of being in time and space.

For this exhibition Roth used a video camera equipped to photograph infra-red light giving his landscapes an etheral quality. The use of infra-red is in part a reference to the architecture of the Internet, which uses infra-red laser light transmitted through fibre optic cables.

Roth visited landing locations in Australia, Hong Kong, New Zealand, the UK, the US, Sweden, France, and South Africa. Each video was then uploaded to a server located in the country of the site represented. Describing his work Roth said “For me this project is as much a search for the Internet as it is a search for new ways of making art within a fundamentally changed network landscape.” Watching these works is thus an almost performative act of receiving data traveling physically from the work’s places of origin.

“Landscape with a Ruin,” to November 10, 2017, Mona Bismark American Center, 34, ave de New York, Paris