My Fortune Teller Said I Will Discover a Talent for Posing Next to Expensive Cars (2017)
Human associations work mysteriously incidental and completely different from one person to another, but how random and haphazard they may look; they are always connected with a memory (or rather pre-existing data.) This is the same for Google Translate, it associates a word with one or more of the hundreds of millions documents in its reach. The procedure is systematic, analytical and robotic, but the outcome can be like a kid playing the infamous whisper game pulling a little prank and whispering a random sentence in the middle of the remembered story. Viewing the entire digital cluster of data roaming on the Internet as a pool of aimless, random associations that somewhere have a coherent connection with a memory in the physical world (when someone logged into his of her computer and created this piece of data), is perhaps a more comforting way of looking at the Internet. It is something we understand, since our brain works the same way. If the Internet is a map, we know the whereabouts of the city we live in, or in the case of the Internet; the websites we frequently use. In this way your moms Facebook page could be your parental home, your favorite porn video the falafel stand you always drunkenly end up after going out and your old MySpace account could be the Madame Tussauds in Vienna where you went that one time in 2009.
However, if you search in the random personal picture finder you are transported to the ‘Irgendwie Irgendwo Irgendwann’ of the Internet. You could be instantly transferred to an aggressively spray-painted Dutch transportation truck, it could be eight men reading the Quran, a (seemingly) dead honey badger or a pink-themed Bachelorette party on a scuba diving boat. (All real examples and all cosmically linked to one another by the mystifying title of imag.0033.) You discover a miraculous and (not so) completely random compilation of human culture that effortlessly crosses any prejudice, boarders, units of time, classification, design or common sense. You cannot but conceive associations, compose narratives and conceptualize an overlapping theme about these images. The systematic associative brain of the search engine awakens your own, which searches for mental connections in your own database of memories. This physical, human database is not the least bit less systematic and automatic though. The variations of imag.0033 spark memories almost automatically, without me picking our choosing which I want to remember. Some recollections are from years and years in the past, some I might as well have forgotten if I didn’t remember them it on that very moment. It can be like smelling a scent, and knowing you have smelled it before, knowing it’s a scent from your childhood, but not being able to remember to which memory it is attached. Is this mental connection perhaps deleted, but with the link still existing on another website. Decontextualization of images and translations, in this case, is like isolating our own memories.
(performance—deck of tarot cards)
LEVI VAN GELDER (1995) — ARTIST/DESIGNER AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS +316(0)48839907 MA Design Sandberg Instituut (2020), BFA Product / Spatial Design HKU (2017)
Driven by visual storytelling, artistic research and pedagogic collaboration, I aim to unearth frictions between compounds of reality and fiction, representation and misrepresentation, and to tap into the dormant spaces of critical and whimsical play nestled inside others. By means of performative research, I sketch out a realm that ranges from provocative tropes within pop culture to history formation. Through quick-witted storytelling and critique, I create a (hyper)reality show of distorted nonhuman characters that question authenticity and reveal layers of depth in the superficial.