It’s Time To Open The Black Boxes!
It’s Time To Open The Black Boxes! | Multimedia installation | 2012
Greece, Europe and indeed the World are experiencing multiple crises – economic, social, political, environmental. IT’S TIME TO OPEN THE BLACK BOXES! is a participatory art project initiated by artist Danae Stratou. Living in Greece in this time of multiple crises, it is ever so easy to fall into a state of fear-induced paralysis. This art project was a reaction to such a prospect. Distanced from traditional commercial practices, the art project aspired to undercut its own costs, to give voice to and to assist materially as many as people possible, to help attain a deeper understanding of our collective predicament, to empower a joint response to the paralysis that is causing us to ‘freeze up’. The project activated a dialogue constituting, in itself, a collective response to our multi-faceted predicament. By opening the ‘Black Boxes’ we symbolically bring to light the words that reflect what threatens us the most, or that which we are desperately eager to preserve.
The installation comprises 100 black boxes geometrically positioned on the floor. *The boxes were custom made out of thick black aluminium sheet metal. They are positioned on the floor equidistant from another, so as to form a rectangular grid covering an area of 100m2 situated at the centre of the gallery. The boxes’ lids are open at an angle. Inside each box a black screen is positioned at a 450 degree angle in relation to the floor. The boxes are surfaced with translucent mirrors, thus creating the illusion that they are filled to the rim with a liquid substance and that the screens within them are submerged in polluted water akin to an oil slick.
Upon entering the exhibition space the viewer is confronted by a mixture of sounds such as beeps, heart beats, explosions and flat-lines. As one approaches and walks through the installation it becomes apparent that the screens inside the boxes are displaying words and numbers. Each word appears for a few seconds before being replaced by either a countdown or a count-up (depending on the word). As the numbers race (down toward zero or up to a specially chosen limit), their pace, style and accompanying sounds resemble a ticking bomb. When the countdown, or count-up, reaches its climax, each box emits the sound of either an explosion or a flat-line. These sounds are designed so as to intensify the sensation of tension, crisis, and alarm.
*The boxes were designed by the artist and were produced with the support of ELVAL, one of Greece’s leading aluminium companies.
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