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        Eva Grubinger in Residence



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Eva Grubinger

13 September - 30 November
Eva Grubinger, Visualisation of the installation Dark Matter
Eva Grubinger, Visualisation of the installation Dark Matter
2003, © the artist
Dark Matter
Ground Floor Art Space and Studio Space

Dark Matter is a forthcoming exhibition by Berlin-based artist Eva Grubinger. It concludes her residency at BALTIC and presents a new body of work inspired by the notion of anxiety as a driving force in modern society.

The centrepiece of the exhibition is a giant black headset, apparently dropped by an invisible hand. Approaching the sculpture one can hear subtle fragments of telephone conversations and electronic noise. A long 'window' of black shining opaque glass lines the end wall of the space, reflecting the silhouettes of the headset and the viewers. Without revealing anything, both objects hint at an unseen, but omnipresent and surveilling Other.

Turning left towards the second room, a control tower comes into view, followed by a cooling tower and a nuclear reactor, and a tower block. All black and slightly larger than human scale, these objects - replicas of familiar forms of industrial, military and urban architecture - radiate inconsistent signals: their opaque, light-absorbing, partially mirrored surfaces obscure the activities inside, while at the same time suggesting
absolute transparency.

This disturbing feeling of seeing or hearing without fully comprehending, this suspicion that some bits of information - the most important ones - are hidden somewhere, evokes a feeling of paranoia. In a media-driven culture, this paranoid condition becomes permanent and architecture, which used to be a metaphor for protection and safety, becomes haunted.

Sites like the nuclear reactors of Sellafield and the U.S. listening posts in Menwith Hill, North Yorkshire, are turned into touchstones of a newly fostered fear - not least since 11 September 2001. Money is pumped into the surveillance and security industry at the expense of the social security and education systems and for many, the rapidly growing call centre industry remains one of the few sectors that offers jobs - albeit poorly paid and angst-ridden ones.

In recent exhibitions at Charlottenborg Exhibition Hall, Copenhagen, Deichtorhallen Hamburg, and KIASMA Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki, Grubinger has been exploring the ways in which technology is used ideologically. Like the astronomical 'dark matter' from which the exhibition takes its title, the sculptural scenario hints at covert forces and systems at work in society, and questions our role as unwitting
participants within them.

A catalogue will be published on the occasion of the exhibition. By invitation of Eva Grubinger, a symposium will be held at BALTIC.

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