Hypertext Monumentsmodular sculptures composed of laser-engraved plastic,
found imagery sourced from arena, inkjet on vinyl, MDF, 12 x 12”
I’ve spent the past few months tracking the circulation of a set of images: grainy, low resolution scans documenting the work of the Italian Radical Design group, Superstudio. These images seem to find their way into every niche of moodboarding, particularly on the visual research platform, are.na. They can be found on boards for an H&M seasonal campaign, album cover inspiration, research for an architecture thesis...Like most content relegated to image aggregation sites, reference to their origin is often erased and they are rechristened with titles derived from metadata. What were once imaginings of a “life without objects,” become eye candy ripe for commercial appropriation. Stripped of meaning, these images are transplanted into channels where they exist in the company of vastly dissimilar imagery, ranging from robot_examines_body_in_bagdad.jpg to BritneySpears_portrait.jpg.
As a means of examining this strange compression of time and context, I began collecting any images that neighbored the original Superstudio images. Ultimately, I pasted them back onto forms similar to ones that I encountered throughout my research, pieces that, after processing through a reverse image lookup site, I discovered were sculptures created by a Florentine interior designer, Duccio Maria Gambi. Since these forms were based on Superstudio’s Quaderna series, It felt fitting to fuse them with the disseminated images I had gathered. Tracking the dispersion of these images through various channels of art direction allowed me to witness their commercial appropriation in real time and examine the contemporary role of the image aggregator.