Mythos / Logos, 2010
Steel, aluminum, motors, computer, x 72 x 60 x 60", Duration Variable
Mythos/Logos is a steel structure that houses a computer controlled camera mount. This mount is comprised of a series of nested, semi-circular arms that rotate in relation to one another. When set in motion, the device can position its camera at almost any point on the surface of an imaginary sphere. Though the position of the camera on this sphere is constantly in flux, its lens is always pointed at the center of the sphere.
The Hockney-Falco thesis suggests that Renaissance artists benefited from a profusion of optical aids that became available in Europe during the 15th century. This period, also referred to as the Age of Exploration, was characterized by great leaps forward in the science of seeing. Naturally, artists were quick to adopt such technology, both as method and subject. Van Eyck's Arnolfini Wedding, Mantegna's Lamentation over the Dead Christ, and Holbein's The Ambassadors serve as specific examples from the period.
The notion that so-called master painters required technical assistance is anathema to some. Yet no one would begrudge an artist the use of traditional tools like perspective or oil paint. Perhaps the distinction comes from the fact that optical aids exchange an actual subject for a reproduction, which the artist must reproduce once more. Ironically, the process that results in the most accurate portrayal of a subject is devalued, as the technologically unmediated version seems somehow more honest.
Mythos/Logos addresses questions of mediation and conceptual value by updating the discussion with modern technology. A digital camera replaces Falco's concave lens, and the kinetic armature threatens to supersede the role of the artist himself. Alternatively, the structure could be read as viewership aid, empowering the audience with the precision of technology even as it reduces the choices they can make for themselves.
Please see www.taylorhokanson.com/mythos_logos for more details (including video documentation).