Pan-demonium at AC Institute, New York 2009

bricolagekitchen curated and presented Pan-demonium
at AC Institute547 West 27th St, New York
3 Sept 2009 – 10 Oct 2009

The text below formed part of the exhibition. A two-page PANbrochure was produced and an exhibition catalogue with essay and information about the artists was published by AC Institute to accompany the exhibition.

Pan-demonium  resonates with the current global political, ecological and economic situation – one in which the hegemonic forces of order have been overwhelmed by a dynamic of chaos and disorder, turning the world ‘upside-down’. Maybe Pan-demonium offers a metaphor for a critique of global capitalism and its ‘devils’ – its pan-demons – in all their guises (pan-demics included)? Or perhaps it conjures up collective creative forces for political challenge and the re-inscription of Pan in contemporary mythology?

bricolagekitchen invited visual, sonic and written responses to some of these ideas and questions. Bricolage has various histories and contexts– from Claude Levi-Strauss on anthropology to Steven Connor on postmodern culture. John Cage’s explorations of indeterminacy and the polarities of random/order have an obvious relevance here. Michel Serres’ ideas on noise, clamour and cacophony  and Michel de Certeau’s  leaky ‘sieve order’ also lurk behind the concept of the project. Serres writes about ‘fuzzy logic’ but ‘mess’ is increasingly being cited as a new paradigm in research methodology and is being transposed to other disciplines and creative practices.

Things extra and other (details and excesses coming from elsewhere) insert themselves into the accepted framework, the imposed order. The surface of this order is everywhere punched and torn open by ellipses, drifts, and leaks of meaning : it is a sieve-order.

Michel de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life, trans. S. Rendall, Los Angeles, 1984, p. 107

Through an exploration of the multiple meanings, interpretations and understandings of Pan-demonium, this exhibition aims to open up political as well as aesthetic potentialities. It brings together an assembled cacophony of over fifty contemporary artistic responses and global voices gleaned via the web in a panorama of sound, text, visual and moving imagery,  celebrating the affective power of disorder and noise. Pan-demonium explores the idea of randomness and mess through the adoption of bricolage in a makeshift bricologue of interactive presentation and responses.

So, what does Pan-demonium mean to you?

Image above: Paolo Consorti, Beatitude 2, 2009

Original waving Pan design by Dhaleen Devenish