I decided to sell a Cory Arcangel’s Gradiant (on the left of the picture) that I had in my collection because I realised that his career had become the iteration of the same formula over and over again. That formula could be summarised as the concoction of highly ornamental objects which justify themselves in reference to their own history as expressions of the ‘digital era’. Of course, the allusions to the Pac Man, Internet, hardware and vintage software have become ubiquitous in his work and to be perfectly honest, tiresome.
In fact, over the past decade, media artist Cory Arcangel has explored the odd nexus of nostalgia and planned obsolescence with videos and large-format photos that reference 8-bit video games and other signifiers of the early digital age. The main series in his latest show (called “tl;dr” at Team Gallery New York) comprises a group of flatscreens, hung on their sides and displaying ’90s pop-cultural clips downloaded from the Internet. Each scene has been altered using a Java applet called Lake, which overlays reflective or wavy effects onto images. Fin de siècle icons like Elaine from Seinfeld are thus given the shimmering gloss of memory as might be recalled by an iMac G3.
They are highly collectable, cool to own but dull as hell. I wish this guy decides to do something else than repeating himself trying to conform to a commercial pattern that must bore him as much as he is boring all of us. Just a thought.
WATCH ‘CAÑETE’S THE PILL’ ON LYGIA CLARK’S RETROSPECTIVE AT MOMA