Jason de Haan

Clint Roenisch
190 Saint Helen's Avenue
March 15, 2012–April 21, 2012

Jason de Haan, Future Future Age, 2011, driftwood and inset gold ring, 47 x 20 x 11".

Jason de Haan’s solo show takes its title, “Year Zero,” from a moment in time that does not exist. The term is absent from the traditional Anno Domini calendar system but is used by astronomers and science fiction authors to denote a fixed point in time after a significant event, connoting apocalyptic ends as well as cycles of rebirth.

It is a fitting title for a body of work that is obsessively engaged with creating visual records of the deep geologic time of the earth and the speculative future of human development. In the two works that form the centerpiece of the exhibition, New Jerusalem, 2010, and its counterpart, New Jerusalem, Cloud Shrouded, 2012, multicolored, wall-size spheres depict the transformation of a planet at the hands of a futuristic civilization. Collaged from the cover illustrations of more than one thousand sci-fi paperbacks, the first presents a landscape choked with cities, hovering spaceships, and intergalactic plant life, while the second pictures the same planet as a mass of swirling, abstract colors. The relationship between the two worlds is purposefully ambiguous, raising questions about whether the viewer is witnessing the colonization of a newly formed planet, or its destruction through technological overdevelopment.

Alongside these foreboding undertones, de Haan’s exhibition also offers poetic visions of the future that exhibit a dignified sense of calm about the passing of time. City of a Thousand Suns, 2011, sees the title page from the eponymous novel by Samuel R. Delany affixed onto a piece of fluorescent yellow paper, both destined to fade to illegibility after exposure to innumerable hours of future sunlight. Future Future Age, 2011, similarly speculates on natural life cycles by exposing the cross section of a piece of driftwood that includes an inset gold ring among its own growth rings, as though the tree had miraculously grown around this earlier poetic but useless human object. At work in these projects is not a defeatist sense of the impending end, but rather an irrepressible faith in our sometimes overblown representations of the future.

— Gabrielle Moser