Joep van Liefland Cloud

Entering the gallery, one encounters the extensive installation “VP#45 – Cloud”, Joep van Liefland’s latest edition of his ongoing installation series “Video Palace”. “Cloud” is built of empty video cassettes cases; it connects the three spaces of the gallery, functioning as a disorienting corridor that evokes a feeling of walking through a different time-space. As hieroglyphs of social and cultural behavior, the empty VHS boxes are leftovers of an analog technology, ruins of the revolutionary anthropological change which the Video Home System signified only a few decades ago, when it arrived to inhabit private homes.

One of the artist's fields of exploration is the examination of analog detritus in digital culture. Constructed as a matrix of outdated media leftovers, “Cloud” appears as an exhausted data centre— the vast facilities across the globe in which our digital data are preserved—referring somehow to the obscurity and remoteness of the giant servers, but with their memories deleted. A possible ruin of the future.

At the same time, the title could refer to the clouds in the sky and their continuous altering of shape. As a matter of fact, the installation operates as a kind of ‘shapeshifter’ itself—a popular recurring scifi leitmotif—adopting the space's architectural features in which it is installed.

First assembled in the artist's studio and only afterwards adapted to the gallery space, the installation creates a sense of isolation. Opaque light shimmers through the foggy ‘contaminated’ walls and ceilings, remotely resembling an empty alien cocoon. The material and the human residue on the surfaces seem to come from a different time. In this regard, while walking inside the installation, one may realize that the new and the old are intangible entities that are blurred and melted together. The latter is indissolubly incorporated into the first.

“Cloud” sets on the threshold between analog and digital: the use of old forms and materials as well as its peculiar versatile nature can be read as an attempt of the artist to move video technology’s legacy into new and unknown territories.

Text: Massimo Vaschetto

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