Eliza Hutchison

The difference between the eternal and the infinite

February 2019,AGNSW

A glitch, a mess of pixels, a confused signal, an image that fractures. Gradually
we start to recognise things amongst the detritus of digital decomposition in Eliza
Hutchison’s imagery. We forage for the familiar. A brick facade, a desert, rising
sea levels and melting ice, a girl sticking out her tongue (is she playing or in pain?),
a smart phone, Putin. These images wink at us amid a field of abstraction. But even
here – in the glitches – we find the resonance of the real. Though perhaps ‘find’ is the
wrong term. How are we to know that the black and white static in one image is the
surface of Haley’s Comet? Or that the purple and yellow blocks of another derive from
the carpet of the US Congress? Here, images circulated again and again in the echo
chamber of click-bait culture become alien and unrecognisable.
Our world accelerates constantly. In Hutchison’s installation we feel that rush, that
strobing pulse, keenly. Taken together, these images resemble a film in fast forward,
driven to the point of decomposition. Little wonder, then, that the progress bar at the
bottom of a YouTube clip makes a sly cameo. In this remixed replay of recent history,
one image fragment jumps out: the hand of a crash-test dummy. A surrogate body,
a crash-test dummy is used to test technology that might harm us. It performs a
choreography of catastrophe and absorbs shock, sustaining trauma over and over
and over again. While inanimate, it is designed to ‘feel’ impact on our behalf.
As the world accelerates around us, as it hurtles towards any number of the potential
calamities Hutchison coyly alludes to, how can we road-test what’s coming? Is there
a crash-test dummy for contemporary life? Or are we left to our own devices?
Curator Photographs


Installation detail, "The difference between the eternal and infinite', AGNSW