Critics’ Picks

David Haines and Joyce Hinterding, Geology, 2015, two HD video projections, real-time 3-D environment, game engine, motion sensor, spatial 3-D audio, dimensions variable.

David Haines and Joyce Hinterding, Geology, 2015, two HD video projections, real-time 3-D environment, game engine, motion sensor, spatial 3-D audio, dimensions variable.

Sydney

David Haines and Joyce Hinterding

Museum of Contemporary Art, Australia
140 George Street The Rocks
June 25–September 6, 2015

What might the sun smell like? David Haines imagines it as something like the charred remains of electrical wire, or the dry mustiness of a lake bed, perhaps even raw egg. Ozone One: Ionization and Ozone Two: Terrestrial, the two scents he concocted in his private perfumery for the work EarthStar, 2008, seep from slips of white paper sprouting from two beakers in the corner of a darkened room. The sun’s surface glares from a video projection nearby, its electromagnetic waves radiating an audible static that’s caught by two large copper antennae laid side by side. Suspend your disbelief and you might be on a journey, traveling through space-time.

For the last fifteen years, David Haines and Joyce Hinterding have collaborated with a shared interest in energy and epistemology: How do we know what we know, especially when we can’t see it? Some insight might be gleaned when standing inside Telepathy, 2008–15, an anechoic chamber encased in a gigantic yellow wedge designed to insulate its occupant from electromagnetic radiation and sound waves. Outside, a motion sensor catches movements made by viewers’ hands in the 3-D environment of Geology, 2015. Reminiscent of the extraterrestrial virtual reality as viewed with an Oculus Rift, but more portentous, these gestures are magnified as if by magic on a sixteen-meter-wide screen. Wilhelm Reich felt similarly about orgone energy, a concept he coined in the 1930s that posited libidinal power as the force behind life and creativity. He was eventually ridiculed for his ideas and his literature was burned, but they inspired much of the work in this exhibition—the artists’ first retrospective and a voyage into the invisible and what lies in the space in-between.