At a time when technology seems to be filling the minds of a generation that has become so accustomed to being constantly connected, Berlin-based American artist Daniel Keller creates spatial and sound installations that fuse art and technology to speak to the visibly forming prognosis of a culture where technology replaces manpower. Mixing the urban city with the suburban landscape, Keller also uses the internet as a platform to display his performances and interventions.
Central to the work of Keller is the concept of the ‘prosumer, an idea put forward by Alvin Toffler who in examining the progression of new pioneering technologies, recognised the increasing similarities between the roles and objectives of the producer and consumer. These ideas of progress and technological disruption sit at the forefront of Keller’s most recent works and successfully consider the views of the ‘prosumer’ artist.
I was drawn to Keller’s Freedom Club Figure (2013), the elegantly poised figure of a female mannequin and hand-made rucksack of technophobic mail bomber Theodore Kaczynski. Serving as a visual representation and exploration into the seminal essay published by Sun Microsystems founder Bill Joy on, ‘Why the Future Doesn’t Need Us’ (2000), Keller skillfully merged natural forms with man-made materials to highlight the opposing values of a mass producing, consumer driven society and a non-materialistic, nature-fixated self-consciousness.
Personally, I think that Keller’s overlaying of a rucksack onto the female body could also reference nature’s undervalued contributions to the dynamics of modernity. These spaces for technologies derived from nature’s landscapes, after all.
Keller’s juxtaposing of natural forms and technology is also evident in his mixed media, sculptural installation for the ongoing project Absolute Vitality Inc. Created by the Aids-3D duo Daniel Keller and fellow artist Nik Kosmas, the project provided a series of pioneering initiatives that challenged man’s relationship with nature and his surroundings. The result was a scintillating display of LED back-lit chrome lettering planted in a growing wall of shrubberies, analogous to the man-made structures that delineate the spaces of our otherwise natural landscapes.
Daniel Keller is currently exhibiting his new series of works titled The Future of Memory at the Kunthalle Wien in Austria. The exhibition explores the omnipresence of digital media in our lives and draws upon the modern methods of communication that are increasingly becoming shaped by the virtualisation of our interactions.
Exhibition February 4 – March 29