The exhibition takes its name from Heavier than Air, a series of five replica kites from the turn of the century by inventors such as Alexander Graham Bell, Walter Brooks and Lawrence Hargrave which originally functioned as prototype flying machines.
Heavier than Air
The work of Paul Ramirez Jonas explores redundant or failed technologies that were once cutting edge innovations.
The exhibition takes its name from Heavier than Air , a series of five replica kites from the turn of the century by inventors such as Alexander Graham Bell, Walter Brooks and Lawrence Hargrave which originally functioned as prototype flying machines. Quickly abandoned following the Wright brothers' breakthrough in manned flight, these inventions are resurrected by Ramirez Jonas as homage to forgotten scientific study.
Rocinante is a solar powered satellite-like machine. If it were to operate in space it would be concerned not with military reconnaissance or scientific research, but with making music. However, even if the craft were launched into space, its two signature songs, L'internationale and It's a Small World after All, would not be audible since sound does not exist in a vacuum.
A sense of futile endeavour pervades the works and an almost perverse celebration of 'failure' as the unwritten history of technological progress provides a platform for the discussion of much broader concerns such as time, memory and loss.
Ramirez Jonas was born in America in 1965, but spent the majority of his childhood in Honduras, returning to the US in the early 80's. Now living and working in New York, his immediate experience of the gap between first and third world economies offers a distinct sub-text to his evolving projects.
Ramirez Jonas has exhibited widely across the US and Europe. Heavier than Air is Ramirez Jonas' first UK show, curated by Michael Stanley and organised by Ikon, Birmingham, where it is on show 2 June - 18 July.
A fully illustrated catalogue, distributed by Cornerhouse Publications, accompanies the exhibition and includes an essay by Ines Katzenstein.
Picture Credit - Album:50 State Summits, 2002
Cornerhouse, 70 Oxford Street
Manchester, M1 5NH