Thomas Demand

by stronged

153MEIAC- 317,

Copyshop 1999


Grotto 2006


Clearing 2003

Today is the last day of the Thomas Demand exhibition on at the NGV so I decided to utilize the ticket I purchased for it when I went to see the Jeff Wall exhibition a while back.

Such incredible pieces that reminded me of the discussions we have had in the Media Objects lab. What makes an object an object? And what is an object?

As Demand’s photograph’s depict a real setting, despite being made of synthetic materials (i.e. paper, cardboard), we place our own experiences and signifiers upon what we see in the image in order to comprehend this reality. However, the scene captured in the photograph is a carefully detailed collection of elements (or units) that conspire to induce the observer in believing it is in fact a real setting.

As Wall explains,”all the pictorial arts are about vanishing.” Once the object has been captured it subsequently vanishes into the image. And whatever we then view is what we draw out of ourselves to make it thus.

Pacific Sun 2012, a short film recreating the CCTV camera footage aboard the P&O cruise ship as it was ‘hit by a giant swell that caused it to tip wildly from side to side’ (ala brochure), seemed at first quite playful. As the furniture within the cafeteria slowly began to skate from side to side the motion instantly began to be much more aggressive. The objects being thrown from one side of the room to the other, collapsing, colliding and entangling with each other. It seemed incredibly playful and quite exhilarating. However, upon closer speculation, if situated in that room, I would soon lose my sense of ‘play’ and desperately seek a route out of harms way.

One way to view this art work is a tumbling ontology. If one would list the tumbling objects as the ship rocked from side to side it would be a process of ontography.