I recently visited John Kessler’s newest installation, The Web, at the Swiss Institute in Soho. If this is your kind of art, I urge you to make a visit.
Mixed-media sculptor Jon Kessler has been a personal favorite for a bunch of years now, ever since I first saw his massive The Palace at 4:00 A.M. piece at MoMA PS1 back in early 2006. Featuring dozens of surveillance cameras and their corresponding, trickily positioned monitors, and a hundred intricate, often kinetic details, The Palace took over the entire third floor of the museum and was, in a word, amazing. And everything I’ve seen of Kessler’s since, such as last winter’s The Blue Period at Salon 94 on Bowery, has been more of the same: tons of closed circuit cameras, lots of whirring, moving parts, crazy imagery, overall amazingness.
Jon Kessler’s Newest Installation, The Web, is Totally Engaging
And now Kessler’s back in town, with an as-usual totally demented, totally engaging installation, The Web. Filling the cavernous space of the great Soho gallery Swiss Institute (where Deitch used to be on lower Wooster, and always worth a look whenever you’re in the area), The Web is Kessler’s pointed portrait of our collective obsessiveness over all things internet: our smart phones, our social networks, our (voluntary) loss of privacy, our compulsive selfies, and the recording and sharing of every last mundane moment in our lives. Sure, it’s an easy target, our zombie-fication via iPhone, but what makes The Web so effective (and fun!) is the way it immediately sucks you in to the very thing it skewers.
The Web is an Interactive Experience at the Swiss Institute
Your image, relentlessly recorded and instantly projected from countless different angles as you make your way through the maze–of cameras, monitors, zoetrope-y spinning things, and creepy sculptures of an every-Brooklyn-tech-dude lounging in hammocks, clicking and swiping away–makes you an integral part of the installation. You will definitely take out your phone and/or camera and take shots of the madness, then send it along to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, whatever your particular addiction.
You will take selfies (or pics of your partner-in-art-going), once you figure out how all the cameras work, and which monitor is showing you when you stand here… and here.. and here. And Kessler has even created an app which, once downloaded to your phone, allows any photo you take to become part of the exhibition. It’s all very cool and funny and also a little depressing.
Definitely worth a look.
Jon Kessler: The Web will be on exhibition at Swiss Institute through April 28. Swiss Institute is located in Soho on Wooster Street between Grand and Canal, and is open Wednesday through Sunday from 12:00 noon to 6:00 p.m. More info on the Swiss Institute website.