Harm to Ongoing Matter is part of The Transcode Series, a new collection of artworks by Jono Brandel.
Transcoding is expressive through its rigidity. In Lost Treasures Found and des Objets Reconnus transcoding made it possible to ingest and standardize many discrete assets, words and paintings respectively, to frame juxtaposition. Where transcoding is rigid, juxtaposition is loose. It is an artistic gesture to promote expression. For instance, Lost Treasures Found compares languages from different eras and des Objets Reconnus analyzes representation and meaning. So, one strength of new media enables the commingling of rigid and loose approaches to expression. Harm to Ongoing Matter pushes this dynamic further.
On Saturday October 5, 2019, Brandel alongside electronic musician Christina Chatfield took the stage to perform for La Gaîté Lyrique’s Nuit Blanche programming. During the two-hour set, thousands of people danced to acid rhythms and saw a retelling of Robert Mueller III’s Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election. Throughout the infamous document, there are words, lines, and paragraphs which are redacted, blacked out. These redactions carry the label, Harm to Ongoing Matter. In this piece, the documentation from the Nuit Blanche performance is superimposed onto the report. This recontextualization is made possible through transcoding. The juxtaposition of media, a political report and a concert, adds a new and contradictory layer to this still developing narrative. Contradiction, as media theorist Geoff Cox puts it, is “where politics is evident and where re-invention takes place.”
All artist proceeds from The Transcode Series will be donated to Gray Area, the San Francisco project space where the works were originally intended to be shown prior to COVID-19. A talk by the artist is presented on Patch by Gray Area alongside the launch on 2 July 2020.
Video documentation by Chris Delbuck.