I Love LEDs. From the NASDAQ billboards on New York Times Square to the bus stop indicators on the Chinese public transport, L.E.Ds(Light Emitting Diodes) illuminate our daily lives with more, or less useful information. They have become guides through the concrete jungle of modern society ordering us to drive slow, visit websites or simply display time on our irritating alarm clocks. Nick Holonyak invented the first practical LED in 1962. Their cost-effective ratio made them an ideal tool to illuminate the next consumer generation. The pop art movement of the 60s started using consumer mass media strategies as a medium. Jenny Holzer worked in this tradition with text on different media such as the LED info panels, on which she displayed several of her ‘Truisms’. Phrases like "abuse of power comes as no surprise" placed in public space, revealing at the same time the propagandistic ways in which commercial media works, as well as making subtle political statements against conventional ways of thinking. My immediate association with LED panels is one of slogans. Slogans should define the public identity of a certain product. They are supposed to carry out a univocal image for worldwide consumers to remember. Being a photographer, experience taught me that images are anything but universal. As we are, whether confronted with people of different cultures or with our next door neighbors often "lost in translation", the cliché of images saying more than a thousand words becomes a valuable truth. State of fact dissolves in a dance of associations, forming an inner dialogue of interpretations. The image becomes nothing but an unposed question, a white projection screen illuminated by the mind of the spectator. Every image creates a virtual space in the mind. Whether it triggers a memory or a new association. As time passes and the abstraction of history happens, trends, facts and personal experiences feed our mind in different ways. Certain historical facts enjoy importance and certain styles enjoy preference. This stream of thoughts puts authorship in a new light. As artists we may produce work with a certain meaning and certain aesthetics while the image might be experienced and understood in a completely different way by any other individual. As well as we wrap our creations into the nurturing blankets of wordily explanations, eventually we throw the images we produce into public space to be carelessly or cautiously consumed by the spectators. I believe that the poetry of it all lies in the letting go of our convictions and letting interpretation flow in its own natural way. With "I Love LEDs" we focus on that particular process. Using images, as well as icons, displayed in LED-form. What is left of the initial utilitarian usage of the LED display is a poetic space. Adam Magyar and Thomas Charveriat's vibrant tableaux vivants investigate the thin line between public versus private emotions. François Chalet's animations engage you in a dance through poppy virtual space while Frank Plant pins you to the spot with impressive cityscapes.
Alexandra Verhaest, Shanghai 2006.