Common forms of an art institution’s memory include archives, artist recollections, divergent forms of public opinion, or financial figures.
Damon Zucconi, Multiple, 2013 (screencap). Courtesy the artist
Damon Zucconi’s Multiple (2013), an original work for the New Museum’s First Look series, offers a different, more abstract mode of quantifying an organization’s history and impact. The piece—a website—connects all programs catalogued in the New Museum online archive (including exhibitions, talks, or screenings) to duration. The title of each event links to a counter that presents the years, months, weeks, days, hours, minutes, and seconds that have passed since the event ended. All are presented on a monochromatic background determined by the random combination of two hexadecimal values.
At the time of writing, 12y 6m 4w 4d 20:07:00 have lapsed since Adrian Piper’s two-part retrospective; 30y 8m 2w 3d 20:09:01 since the panel “Homosexual Sensibilities: Is there a Homosexual Sensibility in Contemporary Art?”; and 3y 8m 1w 3d 20:10:03 since “Case, a reading and re-enactment of William Gibson’s Neuromancer” by the artist Brody Condon. The durations suggest new, if untenable, ways to situate oneself in relation to the past and to the present. They also provide a sense of historicity that is, simultaneously, completely precise and totally elusive (what does the passing of minutes mean when thinking about the staging of a panel in 1982?).
The critic Gene McHugh has written that similar works by Zucconi provide a “unique picture of materialized time.” The first in a series of First Look projects that will examine archives (a theme inspired by the Museum’s fall season of public programs, which began with the project “XFR STN”) Multiple offers a depiction of the New Museum’s institutional memory through pictures of time—a sequence of durations that stretch out from the past like colored lines laid across a page.
Damon Zucconi (b. 1985 Bethpage, NY) is a New York–based artist. Zucconi has presented solo exhibitions with JTT, New York, and Project Gentili / Gentili Apri in Italy. More works can be found on his website: damonzucconi.com.