Parallel Constraint Satisfaction Processes

November 12, 2009 (All day) - December 10, 2009 (All day)


Parallel Constraint Satisfaction Processes

Leigh-Ann Pahapill Solo Exhibition
Thursday November 12, 2009
7pm – 10pm

Parallel Constraint Satisfaction Processes: Speculations on the excesses of meaning. -Writing by Marieke Trielhard

Leigh-Ann Pahapill’s installation practice addresses
knowledge and meaning as process driven; as an essentially active and dynamic
economy in which dismantling and re-contextualization is part of its
transformative and ever-changing course. Objects and spaces in Pahapill’s
practice are treated as sites laden with multiple and competing meanings and
realities. The artist explores narrative and metaphor in these interstices,
examining the productive instability of the object when opened to the
excavations of displacement. 

The “stories” we associate with objects and spaces are
always in excess of their immediate function and context. They are imbued with
social expectations, narratives and scripts, pedagogies and associations,
symbolism and iconographies. Pahapill’s sensitive, and highly philosophical
exploration of these inferences is informed by her fascination with the
phenomenology of materials, and the lived material life of objects as socially
imbricated phenomena. Just as language relies on a phatic function to convey
meaning, the “meaning” of objects, as posited in Pahapill’s work, exists as the
complex end result of shared human projections, interventions, and perceptions.
The phatic function in linguistics is understood as an utterance or speech act
that performs a social task in excess of what is said, rather than solely
conveying objective information. Similarly, objects and spaces accrue a valence
of human history, subjectivity, affect, and material change through use and
experiential proximity, and perform socially. They are meaningful in as much as
they are activated and transformed by human responses, and are recognized
through a shared body of knowledge and assumptions.

At 47, Pahapill
takes the remnant of a skid row from within the project space, formerly a bank
storage facility, as a point of departure and explores the ways in which these
markings function materially and metaphorically as traces. They invoke an
organization imperative, and suggestions of classification and controlled
activity. Their ‘caution yellow’ colour is in itself evocative of meaning. It
summons associations in excess of, but deeply rooted in, language and shared social
experience. In this project, colour is presented as something equally subject
to categorization, classification, and systems of meaning. When these remnants
are re-staged within the gallery space; itself a space of organization,
classification, and representations, the found artifacts of the site are
re-temporalized vis a vis related, and emergent metaphors, resulting in a
dissonant set of associations and the dynamic shifting work of meaning.

The cognitive
processes of perception, inference, and synthesis are central to Pahapill’s
interest in the constructed nature of environments, objects, and their meanings.
Parallel Constraint Satisfaction Processes
works to stage a mode of
meaning making that is both malleable and context specific; an evolving process
of inference and juxtaposition, synthesis and projection. The installation
enacts a cognitive model that draws attention to the way in which ones
attitudes, beliefs, and awareness of behavior and facts can shift in response
to a dissonant set of objects, histories, and metaphors. Inviting this
dynamism, Pahapill calls upon the viewer not only to act upon the objects and
the space, but also to draw abstractions from the experience of cognitively
processing “meaning”. Her interventions are as much about what is actively
“shown” and disclosed, as they are about what remains unseen, that which lacks
iteration, and that which is being cognized and experienced in a shifting
possibility of meanings. As poignantly articulated by Erving Goffman: “The
gestures which we sometimes call empty are perhaps in fact the fullest things
of all”.