Absolute Magnitude: Knowing, Ignorance and Being
Absolute Magnitude: Knowing, Ignorance and Being is the first exhibition outside of the U.S. by Lookout & Wonderland, a collaboration between Los Angeles-based artists Niki Livingston (b. 1974) and Yusuke Tsukamoto (b. 1976). The works are part of an evolving narrative-based project consisting of naturally dyed and appliquéd flags that examine the nature of personal reality, knowledge and its limitations. If knowledge is not matter, but the perception of matter, what is possible to actually know? By reflecting on the notion of ‘absolute magnitude’ – the measure of intrinsic brightness of a celestial object as it appears from Earth – the artists explore the concept of human consciousness, asking from where it arises, how it is informed and how it potentially progresses.
Throughout the history, pieces of decorated fabrics have been used as signaling devices and as a rudimentary method of non-verbal communication. Flags have an employed imagery of various cultural codes and historical symbols, functioning as visual tools for expressing different views and ideas with the help of elementary recognizable icons. Lookout & Wonderland has chosen this traditional way of communication as a connecting thread back to our most primal form of storytelling, and as a means of eliminating the limitations of written language.
In the exhibition, each flag is a declaration of perceived knowledge; a storyboard in a shared journey interpreting reality. The stories that the viewers perceive and create in their minds in reaction to the visual matter will be particular to their own personal reality and experience, and will thus differ from the original intention of the artists. The act of cutting and piecing together the botanically dyed fabrics into intelligible shapes also becomes an assembly of the interconnected ideas of tangible knowledge – a symbolic source and spectrum for all our shared yet personal experiences of the surrounding world.