HAWAII

Realized twice in 2004 (different dimensions).

 

Reflection of 6 painted 5’’ TV – sets on the water of a swimming pool; live television.

 

 

In a darkened sonorous space, six televisions are vertically hung from the ceiling, so that their signs reflect in the water of a pool for children. Each screen is colored with translucent paint and transmits through one of the six letters composing the name of the famous archipelago.

 

The Hawaiian islands, a mecca of international tourism, are always publicized by the media as a rare terrestrial paradise that are uncontaminated by human intervention. Apparently they are a place outside of time that have not known the evolution proper to urban and industrial societies. In reality, the physionomy of the islands differs little from that of the most advanced and developed metropolitan cities. Indeed, Honolulu possesses little of the locus amoenus: apartment buildings, skyscrapers, boutiques, hordes of people and intense traffic characterize the quarters of the city just as they do New York. The photographic reproductions that invade not only the travel agencies but also the media, the advertising industry, magazines and cinema have influenced the collective imaginary in an irreversible way. Hawaii is synonymous with sun, white beaches, lush wild vegetation and pure crystalline waters. In reality, such a desirable setting is only the fruit of able marketing strategies purposefully developed for the promotion of international tourism.

 

With his work, Helidon Gjergji shows the irony of that process of mystification and its sad implications for the contemporary self. In Hawaii, the tropical archipelago is divested of any illusory form of attraction or beauty and reduced to a permutation of fleeting fragmentary images randomly culled from the repertoire of television. More than a reflection on the falsity of the media, then, Gjergji’s work plays upon the iridescent immateriality of our imagination and the subsequent impoverishment of our experience. Hawaii artfully stages both the seductiveness and paltriness of hyperreality, which here is literally nothing more than an electronic flash in the pan. That which ought to exclusively constitute a delimited means of information has inexorably displaced our experience of the global environment with a self-perpetuating mirror of false international desires, which, as Gjergji suggests, has electronically subsumed, if not elided, the local self.

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