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Chris Musgrave is looking to capture ’reality’. By deploying a simple technology, the sounds of the world - or at least a portion of the world – are brought to the spectator as energetic vibrations, to then interact in symbiosis with the spectator and develop into an anti-iconic post-image in its own right in which both ‘the world’ and ‘the spectator’ are represented and even absorbed. In other words, what the artist wants to achieve is the production of a spectator who sees his sensory perceptions heightened to the extreme, A spectator who becomes a ‘plant’, who experiences; in other words, perceives without the experience through the mediation of reducing concepts to intellectual, closed observation. Not a doomed aspiration to capture the world, not an attempt to consolidate the world around us through reason, not a desire to classify and objectify itself. Rather, what Chris Musgrave sets out to do is de-territorialize the iconic image, to decode it so as to create space for the next re-territorialization on a higher level. In other words, the production of situations in which the spectator’s senses are saturated and where conclusive thinking is considered superfluous and possibly even undesirable, and in which the spectator is brought into contact - even if only momentarily - with the sublime. So unmediated observation and experience, whereby the image, or rather the sensation, does not exist for, around or thanks to the spectator, but comes into being with the subject. The result is the production of ‘the world’ as an integrated system, nothing more and nothing less than an energy or data flow whereby everything is related to everything else and only the present exists. A transcoding whereby the subject becomes its Other and the other a Subject. Communicating vessels.

Occasionally, however, something manifests itself, which, though in the spectator’s head, for the sake of convenience, we will describe as ‘an image’. In other words, Chris Musgrave’s art seems to have become slightly more human. Particularly in the most recent works we see that the artist deliberately instigates the production of an active spectator, a spectator who is enabled, or stimulated to produce his own narrative. The outcome of this, however, can only be an open narrative, given that ‘the world’, including of course ‘the spectator’, is still approached and addressed as a contingent and schizophrenic ‘entity’ that cannot be contained within some grand, complete story. The possibility of arriving at some sort of narrative was always present in the artist’s work – after all, we live in a culture that derives its raison d’être from the story -, but whereas previously, for example in the work Evolutions Idol, the world and mankind were approached as a pre-personal data or energy flow, in the latest works we see that, thanks to the anchorage point provided by the artist, the same information flows, or a relay, give rise more easily or more explicitly to the production of highly ‘personal’ stories or images. Stories produced by a spectator who, however, never comes to a conclusion but, as it were, continues to oscillate between two poles which cannot converge but nevertheless are obliged to stand together. The diamond, it seems, has the potential to act here as an underlying metaphor. Very real and basic, as a material, and at the same time, equally immaterial and elevated as an idea, the image of the diamond serves as a catalyst, as a technology which in this case is responsible for producing a whole series of hesitant, indecisive, foundation-seeking ideas or images which sometimes intersect, sometimes follow the same path for a while, but never entirely merge: a delta of meandering, multi-facetted short stories.

- Guy Bovyn, 2004

Return to /chris.musgrave.org/