European Civilization Peter the Great and the order of things 2014
European Civilization Peter the Great and the Order of things is a work consisting of a projection, notice board, table presentations and a four-part publication.
The work can be described as a humorous enactment of attempts to order and classify images and through its materialization presents the divergent narratives that assemble themselves as a result.
Before a trip to Russia in 2013, listening to an online lecture on European Civilization and Peter the Great triggered a link between the then Czar of Russia, his habits, ambitions, politics and tactics and a contemporary social, political and economic European model as captured through images found in news magazines.
A number of classification systems are applied to a set of images relating to Peter the Great which are then arranged on wooden panels covered with grey fabric and photographed.
The process requires that each image is defined through the use of language and more specifically the use of adjectives to describe properties associated with it. This act of describing becomes the core activity that defines the way images find themselves next to each other.
The clumsy subjective process that leads to the composition of the panels together with the formal photographic document embody the photomontage that nevertheless tries to validate itself through its appearance.
The four part publication documents each stage in the development of the plates and is presented again on tables.
The three dimensional forms of presentation (tables, publication, and notice board) exemplify a work in continuous progress, potentially with no end, declaring the acts of defining and classifying as equally continuous, while the projection resists any form of static display.
The three systems of classification used included; alphabetical (the name of the image), the system developed by Diderot in the 17th Century in order to allow for the entries in the Encyclopedia of Art and Sciences to connect to each other through the different volumes of the publication, and lastly, a system developed by Adanson for the classification of plants.
The projection includes a selection of 40 from the final 212 plates that are played continuously in a loop. Images appear frequently on more than one plate because their definition places them in more than one category rendering their identity inconsistent.