Tony Conrad’s multi-channel video set up Panopticon, 1988, units 5 displays inside a painted cardboard mannequin of a city. Overhead, a satellite tv for pc seems to be beaming out info, and a community (made from orange plastic fencing) stretches over the cityscape. Within the movies, Conrad implies he’s watching CCTV footage in 5 totally different places: the mall, the video retail retailer, the information station, the artwork gallery, the lounge. In every case, the folks he’s watching are directed by business impulses, however they’re additionally potential recruits as lively producers. Made at a second by which camcorder residence video gear was getting into the buyer market within the US, Conrad’s set up aimed to dispel viewers’ expectations concerning excessive manufacturing values and narrative composition, inviting them to make their very own tv. Panopticon conflates mainstream media with disciplinary management and displays Conrad’s career-long curiosity in art-making as a way of deprogramming recurring norms and countering dominant capitalist logics.
Panopticon was Conrad’s most formidable video artwork set up up to now when it was first exhibited in “Media Buff: Media Artwork of Buffalo, New York,” on the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Artwork at Cornell College in 1988. Within the following 12 months, Conrad re-installed it for the Albright–Knox’s group exhibition “In Western New York 1989.” Its parts had been later rediscovered in Conrad’s studio by curator Cathleen Chaffee and exhibited within the 2018 retrospective “Introducing Tony Conrad.” Panopticon is given a barely totally different reconfiguration once more at Galerie Buchholz in Cologne. Along with artwork historian Annie Ochmanek, the gallery has additionally assembled right here documentation of the work’s preliminary contexts of creation and exhibition, and a number of video supplies exhibiting Conrad’s contemporaneous involvement with cable entry tv.
at Galerie Buchholz, Köln
till April 8, 2023