Upon entering the latest exhibit, Absolute Space, at the AMS Art Gallery in the SUB, one thing which stands out immediately is the sense of vastness in the space. This, as indicated by the title of the exhibit, is what the curators were aiming for -- the gallery feels very open and larger than the fairly small room in the corner of the SUB that it is.
Absolute Space is a meditation on the effects of science and technology on our understanding of space and awareness. Presented by UBC Sharing Science, the exhibit explores the physicality, mysteries, immensity and multiplicity of the world we live in through works by nine artists.
The individual works all had a strong sense of the personal involvement of each artist -- something one might not expect to encounter when thinking of a somewhat scientific topic.
The standout piece of Absolute Space is a collaboration between Evelyn Cranston, Aftab Narsimhan and Connor Shannon. "SAD FRANCISCO -- Where have you cried in San Francisco" is a laser-cut map of the city with illuminations based on crowd-sourced research on where individuals have cried in San Francisco. The connection between emotion and space creates a beautiful, yet saddening work; one which would be interesting to follow up with a Vancouver-based piece. Accompanying the map is a booklet containing testimonials by those who have contributed to the map. Some of the stories are long, emotional and detailed, and one just said "Dickheads." It’s a true testament to human emotion, and how it can be mapped so simply and immovably by the physical space of the city.
Another highlight of the exhibit is Evan Chen’s showcase of individual cellular components of a spinal cord. Aiming to highlight the importance of focusing on details over the big picture, the images, which might be more at home in a hospital, again use light and darkness to emphasize the composition of internal over external space. The highlighting of the individual cell over entire tissue or body shows the importance of the uniqueness and absolute necessity of every part of the body, which translates to the individual, to the city, to the world.
Lauren Scott’s "Time is Also / Another Kind of Space" uses multiplicity of layers to create beautiful geometric patterns, exploring two-dimensions, three-dimensions, real and unreal. The three frames are composed of diagrammatic time lines, cut and reassembled into three-dimensional forms and flattened into two-dimensional once more through photography. A unique form of representation, Scott is encouraging the debate between the real and unreal, in patterns that wouldn’t be out of place in your home.
A thought-provoking exhibit, each piece gives much opportunity for reflection of space on micro and macro levels. Although the highlighted works were standout pieces, the entire exhibit is highly recommendable. The area around each piece gives time and space for reflection and calmness, whilst remaining relevant to our society on large and small scales.