Zody Burke, 2023
Zody Burke, Taylor “Tex” Tehan, Joonas Timmi, Lauri Raus April 6 – April 28, 2023
Opening: April 6, 6pm–9pm
“There is nothing more mysterious than a TV set left on in an empty room … Suddenly the TV reveals itself for what it really is: a video of another world, ultimately addressed to no one at all, delivering its images indifferently, indifferent to its own messages. You can easily imagine it still functioning after humanity has disappeared.”
— Jean Baudrillard, America
Entropy Gauntlet invites you to pass a threshold into a transmutation of space. Inspired by wide-eyed summer night visits to amusement parks and roadside motels, laden with the nostalgia of childhood & playing with the expectations generated by the psychogeography of such spaces, the exhibition leads viewers to contemplate the tension between fantasies of the world we’ve inherited versus the reality of a warming planet.
Solastalgia, a concept which describes a form of emotional or existential distress caused by environmental change, presents itself materially through an amalgam of works and artifacts set inside a narrative. Within the Entropy Gauntlet is a contemporary apologue; using architecture as archetype, exploring the porousness of post-western notions of national identity and its haunted histories. Here, utopia and dystopia become uneven categories in the realm of the anthropocene.
In the tradition of transformative environmental-architectural works such as Gregor Schneider’s “Totes Haus u r” and Jonah Freeman’s “Hello Meth Lab in the Sun”, and hearkening to Robert Ashley’s operatic compositions of late capitalist melancholia, the Entropy Gauntlet manifests as a linear series of archaeological sites undergoing perpetual excavation. It is a narrative of motion and placelessness tropifying the notion that invisible, emotional environs can be injected into the visible sphere to create a sense of longing, dread, and even abject horror.
A note from the artists…
The roadside motel is a ubiquitous feature upon the sprawling face of the continental USA, but it is entirely absent in Estonia. It is taken for granted as a place where small tragedies may or may not occur. It is a location for repressed emotions to manifest due to its invisible status, despite its ubiquity in the flyover states. Within the Entropy Gauntlet, our aim is to engage with the surreality that permeates the line where memory and history interact, in an unexpected location in Tallinn; creating a hauntological simulacrum of a space that exists between destinations. The poetic transmutations of culture that occur when countries on opposite sides of the globe mirror and refract one another are acutely fertile terrain for our work.
The fact that the USA exists partially as a fantasy informed by media is intrinsic to our concept. Two out of four of us are American; despite this, the two of us have experienced our home country in ways that run contradictory to the America that exists in the imagination of the cultural status quo. The other two of us are Estonian and have spent a considerable amount of time formulating fantasies about America & weighing these fantasies against facts. To honestly engage with the USA is to deal with omnipresent shadows that resist truth & dominate the country’s emotional cartography, and with an endless deluge of popular fantasies that provide alternative images to the USA that exists.
With an eye towards the complicated nature of inherent and enforced structures, American multidisciplinary artist Zody Burke criticizes the absurdity of late capitalism and the mythologies and archetypes it generates, while leaving a liminal space for larger ways of being together.
Working with sculpture, illustration, sound, and other media, Burke has sought to establish that societal concepts of identity, symbolism, brutality and hierarchy are as tenuous as we see to craft them, and yet they paradoxically shape practically every facet of our lives.
Taylor “Tex” Tehan is an M.A. Graphic Design student from the United States and an interdisciplinary practitioner. Working with textiles, sound, metal, wood and film, his work is influenced by the landscape, nostalgia, speculative futures, mythology and romanticism of the American West. Previously working in the fashion industry, Tehan has worked as a designer for various brands, including a recent traineeship on the Menswear Design Team at Louis Vuitton in Paris. His interests meet at the cross section of fashion, music, contemporary art, film and graphic design, with a strong emphasis on experiential-environmental themes.
Joonas Timmi is an Estonian artist & designer who explores the contemporary identity of craftsmanship by combining traditional woodworking techniques with VR-modeling, 3D-printing and CNC-milling. In his work, he expresses the relations between functionality and sentimentality in objects using furniture as the main medium. Each piece aims to be a somewhat functional artifact with an emphasis on biomorphic form with anthropomorphic charisma. A recent work, “Traction” chair, was exhibited in the exhibition “Present Yet-to-Be” (Tallinn, Hobusepea gallery) in January 2022. The installation combined meandering forms of plywood with textile to create throne-like structure, inspired by the idea of alternate realities.
Lauri Raus is an Estonian songwriter & guitarist, most notable for his work in contemporary country/shoegaze ensemble Holy Motors. Through his work, he engages with western musical tropes from a distance, transfiguring his own interpretation of Americana into something subtly different and altogether unique. His band is signed to New York-based indie label Wharf Cat which has enabled him to tour the USA, allowing him to rupture, expand, and transform his relationship with the musical tradition he uses as a foundation for his art. He studies anthropology at Tallinn University.