Bienale 2015_mm214


Grayson Cooke (NZ)
installation, 2014

An art-science project about material memory and forgetting. It features time-lapse macro-photography of photographic negatives being chemically destroyed.

This project involves two video works. Each work explores the chemical decomposition of photographic negatives via redox reaction, ion exchange and electron transfer. The first work, HNO3, presents photographic negatives enveloped in nitric acid, acetic acid, and sulphuric acid. The second work, H2O2, uses hydrogen peroxide, copper, silver nitrate and sodium hypochlorite.

The symbol “AgX” is chemical shorthand for the silver halides, the light-sensitive compounds that constitute the celluloid image. The silver halides are the ground of a certain historical regime of the image, its material basis and possibility of signification. But they are also the ground of personal and collective memory. AgX is thus a material enquiry into memory and forgetting. The photographs in this project come from the artist’s archive of photographic materials, they record images of friends, and the naïve obsessions of a former time. They are not artistically significant, and are returned to us here as nostalgia, but they are also just things in the world, subject to the same physical and chemical laws as any other body. AgX shows us images transcending their image-ness as they reduce to their material form.

Grayson Cooke (NZ), an interdisciplinary scholar and media artist, Senior Lecturer in the School of Arts and Social Sciences at Southern Cross University, and Course Coordinator of the Bachelor of Media degree. He holds an interdisciplinary PhD from Concordia University in Montreal, and has published 20+ academic articles in scholarly jounals. Grayson is an award-winning media artist who has presented his work across Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. His collaboration with sound artist Mike Cooper, “Outback and Beyond”, was the winner of a New Face award in the 16th Japan Media Arts Festival in 2012. This work and others have been exhibited or performed at major festivals such as the Seoul New Media Festival, the FILE Festival in Sao Paulo, the Athens Video Art Festival, the Taiwan International Video Art exhibition, and at major venues such as the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in Hobart, the Australian Museum in Sydney, and the Menzies Centre for Australian Studies at Kings College, London.