PLATFORM 2: Eric Hongisto, Black Swan Event

PLATFORM 2: Eric Hongisto
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On View 2009 - 2010
Exhibition Location: Window Arcade Gallery

San Francisco-based painter and installation artist, Eric Hongisto creates theatrical experiences with imagery derived from geography, physics, biology, and numerical data. For PLATFORM 2, Hongisto will create Black Swan Event, a site-specific installation that transforms deCordova's Window Gallery into a space for experiential immersion and reflection on current events. From November 10th through the 20th Hongisto will be on-site to install an expansive, multi-surface wall painting based on abstracted financial graphs and charts. Hongisto's playful distortions create landscapes of nonsensical data that raise questions about the analytic, financial, and communication systems we use to understand an inherently disorderly and chaotic world.

The title of Hongisto's installation references an influential book written by economic philosopher Nassim Nicholas Taleb in 2007, which given recent economic events seems eerily prescient. Taleb posits that our understanding of the world and economic models are fraught with fallacies and omit important information. As his example, Taleb relates that in the eighteenth century Europeans had only seen white swans, leading them to conclude that all swans were white. However, the "discovery" of a black swan in Western Australia belied this conclusion and demanded a revision of knowledge. People now use the phrase "black swan event" to describe the unlikelihood of individuals and markets to accurately assess the possibility of events and information we cannot imagine or have never encountered.

As part of the PLATFORM program series, Black Swan Event engages deCordova's unique architecture, physical location, and the current social environment. Featuring early and mid-career artists from both the New England and national artist communities, PLATFORM shows are intended to serve as a support for creativity and expression of new ideas and as a catalyst for dialogue about contemporary art. Black Swan Event is Hongisto's first project to overtly use the visual language of economic and financial systems, and in the wake of the Great Recession of 2008 the installation fosters a timely discourse about art, museums, and the socially constructed fabric of economic, communication, and knowledge systems.

PLATFORM 2: Eric Hongisto is organized by Koch Curatorial Fellow Nina Gara Bozicnik and is accompanied by a full-color exhibition brochure.

The 2009-10 PLATFORM series is funded in part by James and Audrey Foster.