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Kit Wise

Relocating from London to Melbourne in 2002, Kit Wise’s practice includes sculpture, installation, drawing, photography and digital animation.

An ongoing interest for Wise is the subjective or ‘plastic’ experience of location in contemporary culture. The Nocturne project consists of large-format modular digital transparencies. Circumnavigating the gallery walls, the continuous light-box construction creates a panoramic vista of a seemingly endless city, as seen at night. A combination of photographs taken by tourists, amateur photographers and municipality-commissioned publicity shots, all cityscape images were downloaded from the internet.

Wise based his cityscapes on the reflections of the traveler arriving in a foreign city, grappling with the uncertain. “The cityscapes are an attempt to document (for example) the experience of the familiar and the exotic being thrown together in the crude cocktail of jetlag – the result of 30 hours spent looking out of the window of a plane; the night expanding in slow motion; familiar and then alien cities appearing below, made equal by the accelerated viewpoint.”

The inverted hues of the Xanadu series cityscapes suggest a retinal after-image or a photographic negative. A frequent user of web-derived imagery, Wise views surfing the seemingly infinite resources of the web as symptomatic of the contemporary or Postmodern condition of navigating “without a compass”. In these “invisible cities of the floating world”, Wise attempts to depict “possible scenes glimpsed during liquid transit through the neoreal, plastic-fantastic cityscapes of globalised contemporary consumer culture. Following a Borgesian 1:1 scale map of desire, the work aims to skim the infinite but empty surface of the collective urban imaginary.”

Text reproduced courtesy of Criterion Gallery, Conical and Briony Lee Downes.