Enter the Wasteland. If it is night-time, play the Sun‘s Song to see a little bit better. Look for the sand river in front of you, then either fire the Longshot at a crate on the other side, or put on your Hover Boots to cross it. Then follow the flags. Do not visit the Carpet Merchant: he wants to sell you Bombchus for 200 rupees! Keep on following the flags until you reach a small stone building. Climb the slope on the right, then read the panel and use the Lens of Truth. Now, follow the ghostly guide through the wasteland. It is way better to avoid enemies in order to not lose sight of the guide.
Ocarina of Space draws inspiration from the famous Nintendo game series Zelda, in which the player must search for and accumulate items with magical attributes, which help him on his manifold quests. In a mid-game sequence, the main character Link is trapped in a hazy desert, from which he seeks to escape by means of the numerous signposts spread across the landscape. After a long journey through the mist, a way out is finally offered by a lithic fountain structure, into which he must enter to attain the next level.
Ocarina of Space – a variation on the title of one of Zelda's many sequels – takes place precisely at this threshold. Instead of following the game's narrative leading Link from one scripted space into the next, the exhibition is suggesting an alternative scenario: what if – after entering the gate – he would suddenly find himself inside the exhibition space?
He would encounter artefacts, hand-sized and pocketable, just like many of the magical items so useful to him in the virtual world. But what would their purpose be in this twisted, augmented reality of his? What is he to make of their weight and haptic qualities, of the auditory and spatio-temporal experiences engendered by them? Are they indistinguishable and inseparable from the space surrounding them, or could he lock them into a language endowing them with meaning?
Ocarina of Space proposes to the viewer to take on the role of the player, i.e. to slip into the avatar and to perceive objects and space through the virtual senses of Link. To adapt to this non-biological perspective is to fail consciously at the language of common sense; to acknowledge that identification, classification, and qualification propagate difference; and to consider that the destabilisation of language is a nescessary means to escape idendity‘s trappings. By becoming Links we accept that languages cannot be but fluid and provisional – the reading protocols of space, both virtual and actual, and of the artworks contained within it need to remain subject to revision in order to avoid corroding the fragile tissue of their interconnection. This is an invitation to enter negative space and to play the flute with the mind’s eye.
Ocarina of Space
December 9 – 13, 2017
Matyas Bokor, Birke Gorm, Thomas Julier, Judith Kakon, Andreas Kalbermatter,
Miriam Rutherfoord, Lionne Saluz, Thomas Sauter, Joke Schmidt