Dublin

Yuri Pattison, memory foam memory, 2016, AmazonBasics memory foam mattress, light-therapy mask, travel adapters, USB charger, LED panel, dawn/dusk simulation dimmer, white-noise sound conditioner, melatonin liquid, vaporizer, Unistrut. Installation view.

Yuri Pattison, memory foam memory, 2016, AmazonBasics memory foam mattress, light-therapy mask, travel adapters, USB charger, LED panel, dawn/dusk simulation dimmer, white-noise sound conditioner, melatonin liquid, vaporizer, Unistrut. Installation view.

Yuri Pattison

mother's tankstation | Dublin

Yuri Pattison, memory foam memory, 2016, AmazonBasics memory foam mattress, light-therapy mask, travel adapters, USB charger, LED panel, dawn/dusk simulation dimmer, white-noise sound conditioner, melatonin liquid, vaporizer, Unistrut. Installation view.

Last fall’s release of Apple’s new iOS 10 operating system touted a curious new feature: Bedtime. True to its title, the app simply encourages users to get a full night’s rest by alerting them when it is time to go to bed. Users’ personal sleep logs can then be analyzed using Apple’s HealthKit. In effect, the software tracks one’s bodily needs—to the extent that they can be accurately registered by an iPhone—and charts them as a kind of productivity.

The increasing outsourcing of biological function provided the subtext of Yuri Pattison’s “sunset provision.” The exhibition was originally envisioned as a continuation of “user, space,” the artist’s solo show last summer at London’s Chisenhale Gallery, where Pattison’s experience of co-working spaces served as the starting point for an investigation of the aesthetics of contemporary labor. Collapsing the aggressively anonymous interiors of corporate conference rooms with the gridded racks of distribution warehouses, the artist created a condensed habitat for today’s ever more precarious workforce, permanently plugged in and perennially spritzed with humidified cocktails of Smartwater and caffeine designed to bolster their sensory perception, not their spirits.

With “sunset provision,” Pattison shifted toward the elision of living and work space—or perhaps more accurately, to living space as an extension of work space. In legal parlance, the eponymous clause tags an automatic expiration date onto a given law, but the term has taken on new life in techspeak as a euphemism for the purposeful phasing-out of brands, products, or services. Within this exhibition, what seemed to be evanescing was human inefficiency. Pattison’s sculptural compositions were built from the starter kits of biohacking—whether the cognitive-boosting “smart drug” modafinil or the light-therapy face masks that claim to rejuvenate skin at a cellular level. The exhibition’s two dominant installations, memory foam memory and memory foam remembers (all works 2016), both center on a memory foam mattress—a mass-produced solution to personalized ergonomic support. The former is accompanied by a white-noise sound conditioner and a vaporizer misting liquid melatonin throughout the fifteen-minute cycle of a dawn/dusk simulator, while the latter piece is suspended in the permanent sunset setting of its lighting hue controller and outfitted with silicone earplugs and a transparent tablet made specifically to meet prison safety regulations. As living environments, these setups resemble the type of bunks or pods used to preserve future human beings in science fiction films. Every device is calibrated to lull the senses into an artificially induced calm with the objective not of comfort but of complacency and the type of universal compatibility that would enable someone to “plug and play” all over the world. In a nod to global aspirations, the two mattresses are accompanied by a stack of interlocking travel adapters—North American, European, and Japanese—piggybacked beside each mattress. These towers testify to a peculiar slippage in contemporary capitalism: how the ability to work from anywhere became the obligation to work everywhere.

This drive toward maximum human efficiency was held in check by (infinite corridor, infinite) Sunset Provision, a looped video projected on a hanging dust sheet. Shot for the artist by Misha Sra and Nick Gomez just days before the exhibition opening, the footage captures the biannual phenomenon known as “MIThenge,” a moment when the position of the sun aligns with the Earth in such a way as to send sunlight streaming cleanly down the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s 825-foot “Infinite Corridor.” Within this temple of technological advancement, the melding of natural and artificial has, perhaps unsurprisingly, given way to multiple websites meticulously documenting and predicting the next occurrences. What these engineers and amateur astronomers cannot predict, however, are the other meteorological factors that might compromise visibility. Even if the sun appears to be momentarily contained by the architecture, some things remain beyond the control of technology.

Kate Sutton