"The Digital Archaeologist"
Nicky Broekhuysen

The Bumiller Collection - Museum Of Islamic Art
10th September - 15th October 2016

The exhibition series “Contemporary Interventions in THE BUMILLER COLLECTION” pursues an experimental approach, wherein it unites the collection’s antique artifacts with contemporary artistic positions within the space of the Berlin STUDIO of the BUMILLER COLLECTION – MUSEUM of ISLAMIC ART. There are no restrictions or thematic guidelines for these solo exhibitions, save those prescribed by the Islamic influenced context of the exhibition space itself.

In The Digital Archaeologist, selected tools of early writing from The Bumiller Collection are placed together, alongside Broekhuysen’s contemporary works of Binary Code 1 and 0. The ‘ink of our time’, Binary Code represents the evolution of information transference and preservation, from read pen and inkpot, to the 1 and 0 of the present Digital Age.

As a coded metaphor for memory, data and information, Broekhuysen hand stamps the binary numbers on to paper, found books from the old Iraqi Embassy to East Germany and old marble floor tiles imprinted by the memory of time and of those who have passed over them. Her works therefore become simultaneously, both contemporary and historical artifacts. By exploring data and it’s potential with in this historical context, Broekhuysen finds new ways to discover information through historical objects and present day technologies.

In a series of new paper works completed for this exhibition, Broekhuysen unearths a digital, information-based world framed by both the Eastern and Western cultures that surround it. The title for the works, ‘The Map Is Not The Territory’, a quote taken from Alfred Korzybski’s book, Science and Sanity (1933) is understood in these large digital landscapes as ‘the information is not the belief that we construct from it’. Whether historical artifacts pulled from the earth or 1’s and 0’s made visible from behind a computer screen we are all navigating cultural, religious and personal territories of information. If constructing beliefs from a Western or Eastern perspective, Broekhuysen reminds us that in the end they are only ‘constructed territories’ with impermanent borders.

Broekhuysen, collaborating with sound artist Maria Kamutzki and programmer Martin Keane, together have developed a custom-built physical modeling computer program accompanied by a sound piece. Using the ‘tools of today’s technologies’ Kamutzki hums and plays the drums, copying the rhythmic beat of a Sudanese youtube video and it’s Islamic singer. In the background the rolling beat of a Gutenberg press plays, the copy of the copy of the copy. Recorded words, mashed and distorted from recognizable voices all play in front of the backdrop of a green screen, something absent but which still remains, the space between the 0 and 1.

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