Before smartphones and tablets, it was television that had an important role in the mediation of images and information. The shimmering surface of this apparatus had and for many households across the globe still has the iconic status, and functions almost as a totem, an object of devotion. However, the television set was a way to present true and more often constructed stories to a broader audiences, and was a perfect vehicle for social and political manipulation.
The interruption of the program and the accompanying information no signal was always alarming, and was perceived as threatening whether the cause of the malfunction was technical or conditioned by natural catastrophe or war.
Under the title NO SIGNAL, the Vienna-based Galerie Kandlhofer will host a solo exhibition by the Mexican artist G.T. Pellizzi that tends to explore the significance of the television set for the indigenous community in the highlands of Peru.
Before graduating from the Channin School of Architecture at the Cooper Union, G.T. Pellizzi initially studied literature and philosophy at St. Johns College. Such a background enabled him to search for different means of expression, and he eventually became experimenting with art making within the Bruce High Quality Foundation, a Brooklyn-based art collective that Pellizzi is a founding member of.
By using industrial materials and simple processes, the artist produces paintings, sculptures, installations, and is even head of an alternative educational institute, to critically articulate issues related to global economy, urban gentrification and abuse of recent technology.
For this particular exhibition, G.T. Pellizzi focused on the tapestry production practiced by the indigenous community living in the town of Ayacucho in the highlands of Peru. This toponym is known for a rich heritage dating back to the pre-Inca Wari culture, which is known for its elaborate textiles.
On the other hand, Ayacucho was a site of the armed conflict that took place in the country throughout the mid-1980s and early 1990s, along with the globalization process. These circumstances left the indigenous communities to suffer greatly while keeping their traditional customs and cultural identity.
Weaving, one of the main crafts practiced by the locals, is rapidly disappearing in the digital age, since the process takes months and is out of sync with the immediacy promoted by contemporary technologies.
G.T. Pellizzi decided to release the tapestries in collaboration with weavers from Ayacucho to explore the significance of this traditional craft used as the screen for the projection of the indigeouous stories and myths, and the televisions set that became a new screen as the globalization took its tool. This parallel is especially important since the signal of the later was cut in the midst coup d’etat which nicely illustrates the systems of control of the people used to be controlled only by nature.
The installment consisting of two series (tapestries modeled after test cards used to calibrate broadcast signals in television and film, and a series of light sculptures using incandescent bulbs and steel conduits composed after old circuit and communications diagrams) tends to show how the effect of the global economies that changed for good and still does not only traditional ways of living with nature, but also relations among the people making them dependent from capitalist market and commodities it offers.
NO SIGNAL will be on view at Galerie Kandlhofer in Vienna, Austria from June 5 until July 18, 2020.
Featured image: G.T. Pellizzi - Conduits in Red, Yellow and Blue (No Signal 4), 2020. Galvanized steel conduit, copper wire, rubber chord, porcelain fixtures, ceramic coated lightbulbs, 130x130cm; G.T. Pellizzi - NO SIGNAL - Installation views. Photo credit: Manuel Carreon Lopez. Kunst-dokumentation. com. All images courtesy Galerie Kandlhofer.