With the proliferation of online galleries and netart produced and sold digitally, the recently launched series of Bonus Material PDF publications – initiated by Leipzig-based collective Info-Punkt – takes the idea of ‘printed matter’ away from physical tangibility and the elite status of a collector’s item. Instead, they offer a free and accessible curated selection of images and video clips from exhibitions past. The second issue of Bonus Material, which was published online last month, features previously unreleased documentation of two 2012 solo exhibitions by American artist Jasper Spicero.
Spicero’s work is an adept amalgamation of the highly technical and the hyper-banal. The images of his show ‘Intriors’ –exhibited at Appendix in Portland, Oregon –present computer game style dreamscapes that, uninhabited, simultaneously look like advertisements for other-worldly real estate. Alongside these 3D renders, the documentation shows a series of mundane photographs: a row of flatscreen TVs inside a Best Buy electronics department, a blurry picture of some shelved wicker baskets, an out-of-focus selfie of the artist. The setup of this exhibition is aesthetically raw, wires and bolts protruding from the works and tape measurers and cords lying around the gallery floor. While we’re not entirely aware if this is how the finish product appeared, the Bonus Material compilation gives us an idea of the process.
In Spicero’s case the process work is revelatory of his overall aesthetic: the 3D interiors that he creates are loosely based on a stock of crude and slightly grotesque design clusters. The second PDF, based on his NYC show ‘Husk of a Wandering Meteorite,’ shows less process and more polished product. Spicero – who organized Open Shape, a series of exhibitions showcasing artist-designed 3D-printed objects – showed some of his own 3D printed works and their initial design renders. One –a strange alien-spider-clitoris hybrid –is documented ominously close-up, presenting it in a terrifying human scale.
Info-Punkt launched Bonus Material II at Center project space on Kurfürstenstrasse in Berlin. Hendrik Niefeld, a founding member of the Info-Punkt group, described the opening: “Our idea was to provide an opportunity to come together for a conversation about Bonus Material II, Jasper’s work and the Info-Punkt project in general. Various iPads and tablets were available for visitors, presenting the current publication as well as our recent projects. Also everybody was invited to use our wifi to download the PDF on their own device.”
This kind of simultaneously social/asocial opening is a growing trend: amassing a group of people in a physical location to then retreat into the isolated world of their personal devices. But the novel thing about Bonus Material’s layout is the opportunity it gives artists to present their exhibitions in an uncharacteristic light. Images of the installation, of the backsides of works, their materiality and texture, alterations of scale: a wholly other narrative of the show is produced in this way, one that is otherwise effaced by the standardised exhibition and documentation format. **