the scryer (2018)
As daily life becomes increasingly datafied, commodified, and secularized, this kinetic sculpture considers the relationship between technology and spirituality in a contemporary context. Drawing on the visual language of museological display, the scryer presents a marble technofossil as it undergoes some form of parascientific analysis. By combining real-time video with recorded footage, the scryer blurs the boundaries between reality and artifice, raising important questions surrounding faith, mysticism, and technology in the digital age.
Referencing Internet advertisements for fortune-tellers and clairvoyants, the scryer features a tiny inscription laser-etched across a marble slab. A digital microscope slowly pans over the text, revealing the mysterious incantation on a nearby screen. Combining the text of several Kijiji listings, the text is syncretic to the point of absurdity, drawing attention to the ways that faith and spirituality have operated as commodities, both historically and contemporarily. At the same time, the work also reveals the limits of science and technology to fully resolve our most fundamental questions surrounding life and death.
Within discussions of occultism, scrying refers to a form of divination or fortune-telling. The scryer is “the one who looks”, divining messages and visions from the beyond. In this work, technology functions as a medium. The text itself exists at the limits of legibility, asking the viewer to either accept or refuse the mediated version as true and authentic. Meanwhile, as the microscope pans over the text in reverse, a grainy image of the night sky is presented on the screen, recalling footage of alleged UFOs recorded with hand-held cameras. In many ways, the scryer speaks to humanity’s enduring quest for a higher power, questioning the ways that technology has been---and continues to be---implicated in this pursuit.