Air Show



Air Show, 2016

Cardboard 3D viewer


The 3D viewer bought in a museum gift shop gives a three-dimensional rendition of the artwork of your choice. This viewer is of the same design but contains no image: it is white both inside and out and the only deviations from the all-white card construction are the two plastic lenses and the words ‘Air Show’ printed on the top, where the title of the artwork would normally be found. This makes reference to the air contained and on show inside the viewer, as well as to Terry Atkinson and Michael Baldwin’s 1966-7 Air Conditioning Show and Air Show works.

The rather playful reference to the work of Art & Language is confirmation that this minimal object belongs within the conceptual rather than the formal tradition. As Lucy Lippard argues, Conceptualism and ‘what came to be called Minimalism’ met from quite different places before going off in other directions. The situation between the two is not perceived here as a binary, but rather as a binomial, an exchange and a meeting.

Unlike Atkinson and Baldwin’s Air Shows, this is not a text-only documentation of a fictional entity that positions itself on the side of dematerialization (although it can be argued anyway that text is wholly material), but it is an object, a machine for viewing that emphasizes its own materiality—and the materiality of air—through the denial of normal function. Connections can be made to discussions on the material and immaterial in digital culture: it is clear that pure information is an impossible notion and that the machine for viewing (software, hardware, network organization) is fully material and worthy of consideration in its own right.