I bought myself a second Time Out magazine dated 3rd-9th September to get hold of some more listings to visit and experience. One of the listings that my hammered nail pinpointed was the Sadie Coles gallery on South Audley Street off of Oxford Street. I went to see the exhibition by Shannon Ebner: The Electric Comma whose work explores the links between language and photography. The exhibition reminded me of my Final Major Project from Foundation which was a culmination of the ambiguity of language and design. The exhibition is a result of a three year project – Black Box Collision A and The Electric Comma – which the latter is based on a thirteen-line poem written in 2011. Her form of medium was a rented Portable Changeable Message Sign, the kind used to announce roadside emergency information, such as traffic accidents, detours and delays on the road. She programmed the sign with the Electric Comma text.
I was presented with six black-and-white photographs which formed portions of the poem which had a varying amount of legibility and was sort of pixelated. The leitmotif of the series is the Comma, which has a way of revealing and restricting meaning. I was completely confused by this word and its placement in the poem. I’m still trying to understand it – which I’m sure was the photographer intention. The photos play upon the mutable nature of language and instead of it seen as text it is seen as form with countless variations. I liked the photographic medium which Ebner used in black and white but found the poem mundane and irrelevant – “go outside this time and plug in some really long chord.” I see her intention being underlined by typography and the simplistic beauty in language and symbols.
I enjoyed the large-scale Black Box Collision A photo series showing thirteen variations of the letter A found on the tops of buildings, walls, vehicles and electronic surfaces which each the result of some kind of visual communication, sign, advertisement of message. I would define them as a slice of photographic journalism – the whole story is not revealed through this repetitive letter A, but more like a puzzle which could be pieced together.