V2_lab collaborated on the technical realization of this project.
This installation centres on questions of boundaries and more specifically the issues of accessibility within certain boundaries that have come to be so important in recent artistic, philosophical and cultural thought. Along with issues of accessibility and boundaries come the inevitable issues of positioning, viewpoint and perspective of both the artist as well as the audience, or more appropriate in this work, the participants.
How to best demonstrate, and critique the issues of the culture of technology and challenge the overt Western bias of most theorem that almost inevitably places Africa in the realm of the everbeautiful, natural and ahistorical construct has been a major project for the artist in the past few years. In deciding to side-step issues of authenticity, originary truth, and romaticisation, the artist has made a bold statement by deciding to showcase apparently archaic monumental objects that are frequently endowed with an unquestionable air of reality, in the digital 3 dimensional computer graphics-driven Internet realm. This abstraction of a real object from life into mathematical syntax is common within computer programming language and digital simulation. When the participants in the project are further empowered through the possibility of being able to manipulate an object that many of them may never have access to, in real-time, with the possibility of customising its appearance; it is the authority to maintain sole access of the object by any one entity that is being challenged rather than the commodification of a rare objet d'art.
In the installation for ArtPace, the result of working with programmers and 3-d specialists, the artist has delivered fully customised objectvariants based on the more famous examples that lie frozen and dormant in the increasingly complex protection of the major museums, in the guise of Virtual Tours that actually eliminate the need for an object in the first place, and so on.
This particular work is centred on one particular object held in the Museum of Liverpool in England, whose importance is highlighted in the Museum's Web site: The Queen Mother Head, Benin, Nigeria, West Africa, late 15th to early 16th century AD. The Benin Bronzes are an important part of the collections of Liverpool Museum and provide a wealth of fascinating information on the history of Benin City. A special way of casting bronzes known as the lost wax method was brought to Benin around A.D. 1400 from the Yoruba religious centres of Ife where the method had been practised for at least 200 years. This bronze head of a Queen Mother is one of the best examples of its type in the world.