Published in:
September 2022

An end as a beginning, a beginning as another end, or perhaps both as layers of a palimpsest that simultaneously erase one another. Everything that is born eventually forgets where it came from. The perpetual climax of an end reminds that an end is not merely finality, rather it is a rhythm. Elasticizing the end creates another beginning, it is the space between letters that teach us the most. In Leefwerk’s space in Athens, Niels Coppens and Roman Luterbacher birth the terrestrial body of the algorithm, embedding the intangible into ostentatious form. Is their construction of a fourteen-meter-long wood sculpture of the word “algorithm” a way to tamper with the trajectory of the algorithm itself? Through their fabrication of the word, the word becomes a forgotten monument, a landmark that stagnates its own history. Their gesture, nascent of a peripheral temporality, lands valiantly in the present, in a speculative waltz towards post-data. If constructing a word is a modality of remembering, is making a monument a way of forgetting?

Leefwerk refers to “the life of a timeless mass” in the text that hangs silently on the wall of the exhibition space, an inaudible hymn of commemoration. In rendering something tangible, abandon becomes possible. Their act of forging the algorithm into a sculpture subverts an incessant social sculpting done by the algorithm itself, in attempt to thwart its dictatorship. Our conversations call upon cities full of neglected monuments, masses that remember nothing but their own histories. City branding dominates impenetrable landscapes, converting locations into destinations as it calibrates the momentum of consumption to an interminable insatiability. Amplification nullifies the tender potential for subtlety, what gets lost in the exaggeration of a whisper? Conjuring stimulation curses softness, if everything is documented then when does fantasy die? And what does one recall of the all too forgettable monuments constructed for the spectator? #Athens #Amsterdam #Algorithm These monuments burn vacantly on the coasts, central squares, and scrawled across arriving trains, desperate agglomerates beckoning an audience. Yearning masses attempting to anoint the pedestrian into the digital realm, glorifying arrival and baptizing the perpetual tourist. “Crisis needs colors'' says Roman, and thus they paint the algorithm in emoji red. Emoji red is a color that dwells in screens, embedded in the smiling faces that blaze with heart shaped eyes, and upon the body of an ubiquitous soda can. It is an inescapably contemporary red, and the first implementation of color in Leefwerk’s oeuvre. Coppens and Luterbacher juxtapose the dauntingly cheerful color with the ominous proposition of a larger than life algorithm. Emoji red does not possess the depth of other reds, emoji red forgets what it is intended to remember, it erases itself like the palimpsest. Bright colors are often employed to hide the most ruptured corners. The sculpture is placed diagonally in the exhibition space, stretching from the corner to the front facade of the building. The amalgam of letters erect a topography of disintegration, a landscape of defunct data that erases itself in pursuit of amelioration. A corpus of surplus personality dwells within a wor(l)d that romances the obsolete. If social media is the body, is the algorithm its erratic pulse? Automated reasoning dictates and destroys, calculations deprive spontaneity. The algorithm is an unavoidable sculpture, one that generates a haunting armature. In the sunrise of a premeditated sequence the day defines itself, yet the algorithm never sleeps. An omnipresent absorption of information catalyses the slow inch towards tomorrow. Remembering that today is tomorrow and tomorrow is today eradicates the need to quantify. The algorithm defies itself in the pursuit of its own sentience, sentiment lubricates the vortex. Can a rhythm bound by logic relinquish its calibration? Can the algorithm learn to love?