I can’t pretend to understand the press release and artist statement that accompanied Shane Hope’s show at Winkleman last year, and I’d wager that’s the point. We won’t understand technology until the age of Singularity is upon us—the theory that some sort of super intelligence will be born of technology—so we’ve been offered a bit of unintelligible PR a superhuman will inevitably tell us is meaningless fifty years from now.
All this may be a bit of a distraction from the work itself, which is 3D-printed molecular models of poly lactic acid. That’s the stuff that’s derived of corn starch and makes the second most important plastic in the world. Polyester, tea bags, plastic cups and even mulch has been derived from this stuff. And now art.
I suppose all this is rather meta, as 3D printers require plastic themselves, (though it’s unclear whether the art uses the material identical to what it prints), and for me, it’s not where I derive my enjoyment of the work anyway. I like seeing how the printed molecules fit together, I enjoy the depth of the prints, and I like that in the case of work shown in Miami’s UNTITLED., that they end up looking like lego for track housing. Despite all of the biomorphic forms Mr. Hope employs as source material, the work always ends up evoking the mechanical. Given the process, that seems just right.