New York

Paul Ramirez Jonas


The desire to lasso “everything” together into a single theoretical corral drives such contemporary scientific concerns as the genome project, chaos theory, and super-string theory. Paul Ramirez Jonas borrows the semiotics of scientific inquiry for a visual language of incomplete pictures and empty gestures that question the validity of an objective, unifying system of knowledge. Referring to scientific manuals and do-it-yourself construction methods, Jonas’ work examines practices intended to improve our knowledge by getting a better view.

In Top of the World (all works 1997) he creates a walk-in photo panorama giving a 360-degree view of the world from the North Pole. Yet this privileged perspective falls short of our expectations: the enlarged photographic image is very grainy, and the horizon line greatly curtails what one can see. The view itself is nondescript, not much more than a

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