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Essays & Catalogue Texts

Effects and Affects in a Crisis of Authenticity

In: Quantification Trilogy Reader: Jeremy Shaw, eds.: Laura McLean-Ferris

Kunstverein in Hamburg; Julia Stoschek foundation, Germany; esker foundation, Canada; Information Office, Vancouver, Canada



Jeremy Shaw’s artistic practice is characterized by a strategic use of outmoded and contemporary visual and  aural effects to represent, induce or bring into question perceptions of ‘reality’ commonly presented in contemporary art, film and popular media. Considered together, the Quantification Trilogy films, comprising Quickeners (2014), Liminals (2017), and I Can See Forever (2018), are connected by an interest in experiences of catharsis, as well as signifying and reproducing states of mind, questions of belief, and extremes of subjective experience as formulated in postwar sub-cultures that changed the political landscape in Europe and America. The Trilogy’s plot-lines are largely dystopic, based in a future framework in which ‘reality’ is a hyper-rational and transcendental state. This reality has been achieved by employing technological means that affect the greatest sense of certainty of purpose and belonging in the world beyond the human means of myth-making, story-telling (including reportage), or proselytizing. Though the films employ a documentary format, Shaw complicates this experience by narrating a future world using dated media aesthetics, as though signaling faithfulness to counter-cultural positions.