Critics’ Picks

Pedro Neves Marques and Mariana Silva, Beams of Cathodic Rays Shooting, 2013, HD video, sound, dimensions variable.

Pedro Neves Marques and Mariana Silva, Beams of Cathodic Rays Shooting, 2013, HD video, sound, dimensions variable.

New York

Pedro Neves Marques and Mariana Silva

172 Classon Avenue
September 17–November 2, 2013

“Environments,” Pedro Neves Marques and Mariana Silva’s New York debut, is based on The Limits to Growth, a 1972 MIT-led report showing that capitalism could grow exponentially until hitting certain ecological tipping points. Marques and Silva have represented the report with a video by the same name, which models the results in 3-D infographics that depict a sharp incline leading to a steep fall. Taking the broad frame of “environments”—including how they are projected, modeled, and rendered—as a means of thinking through the current economic crisis, Marques and Silva have created a landscape where the worst seems to have already happened.

The most striking work in the show is a dual-channel video installation, Explore, Experience, Enjoy, 2013, which flanks both sides of the gallery, simulating a 3-D model of an exhibition. This exhibition inside the exhibition combines real and imagined objects, such as campaign posters for universal basic income; a toy-like donation box from Tate Modern (functioning here as an art object) that instructs the viewer to “explore, experience, and enjoy”; and three colorful collars divorced from their shirts. Rendering the institution along with the exhibition, Marques and Silva ironize the language used by art organizations to critique the very systems they reproduce. The wall text in the fake exhibition reads the donation box as a demonstration of the trickle-down effect, while audio of coins dropping into the box resonates throughout the gallery. Here, art exhibits itself as a virtual model of neoliberal economics. Similarly, the piece within the simulated exhibition, Work Collars, plays on precarity and the fragmentation of work, projecting beyond the moment of white- or blue-collar labor. The post-Fordist collar might equally multitask as an art object, attest to the artist’s status as a creative professional, or be worn over a tank top, evoking a confusion of both climate and career.

Within the same stroke, the projected exhibition calls into question the notion of materiality and its relation to physical environments, work, and economies, where money flows without anyone to drop the coins.