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Renée Green. Shadows and Signals

In Shadows and Signals Renée Green continued to explore the possibilities of altering and re-staging, performing a work, and rethinking it by considering it in relationship to different circumstances and histories, which allow other paths to be followed and new works to develop. The process of accretion was incorporated into the exhibition itself, thereby the sites of production and of display became intertwined.

Numerous specifications were made for her works and these existed like disorderly music scores, yet the specifications were deployed in variable spaces and their conditions were reconsidered in new locations.

Barcelona provided a rich ground in which Green could consider ideas with which she has been engaged. Some recurring themes are relations to sound and music, language and translation, urban existence, projections onto and dreams of places, intersections and tensions of the local within global circuits. Similar to how one might turn a crystal to observe the varied angles of fractured facets of light, Green rotates ideas, juxtaposed with locations and time references, and examines what new combinations may be emitted from these encounters.

Because of the density of layers in Green’s installations it can be challenging to grasp the multiple resonances in one encounter. In contrast to the book produced for Green’s 1999 exhibition Between and Including by the Vienna Secession – which includes written exchanges, conversations, a text on Elvira Notari by Giuliana Bruno, and images from the literally labyrinthian installation – the accompanying book for Shadows and Signals is the first to include a focus on Green’s work in film and video, making available her scripts and transcriptions of conversations from videotapes, which comprise parts of the presented works, for further contemplation. In some cases the scripts present the fantasy version of what film could be produced, prior to the pragmatics of production, thus they are specified as “reading scripts.” Also included is a survey text which contextualizes the work in this exhibition amidst Green’s practice over the past ten years.

Two projects developed over the past years were presented in this exhibition, Some Chance Operations and Partially Buried in Three Parts. These works were reconsidered and further engaged for Shadows and Signals. Another aspect of the exhibition was the film series, Shadows and Signals. Of particular interest for Green during the time spent thinking about Barcelona and the exhibition was her encounter with films produced in this city. In this way she continued her probing of a form which once represented the hopes for a new technology of the observer. Its form and the varied wishes which accompanied it began to pass into obsolescence upon its invention, to be replaced by yet newer forms and reshaped wishes. Film and the radical aspiration, to reference the apt title of a 1966 essay by Annette Michelson, provided an impetus for thinking about different moments in which film seemed to offer possibilities beyond what had before been known. This was also one of the mobilizing ideas behind the Shadows and Signals film series.

For an international audience of onlookers, Barcelona seems the model of successful urban restructuring, in the wake of transformations sparked by the 1992 Olympic Games and by European Union economic incentives. But in thinking of this image arises yet another dimension to consider. What interrelations, as well as tensions, does this restructuring bring between the various inhabitants who dream the city and who live in it? Who is able to realize their dreams and who is able to live? Additionally, how do global circuits of exchange affect these relations in particular localities?

Green explored related concerns in the two above-mentioned works and continues to grapple with these in WaveLinks, a work-in-progress, which was also presented in the exhibition. This was located in a “Works Section,” designated for ongoing work and for documentation of works from 1990 to the present.

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