Purposeful randomness

By GREG COOK  |  February 17, 2010

The chart's meaning is obscure. "This body of work addresses a cycle of investigations on urbanism and in the everyday as a primary space of cultural experimentation," Metzgar writes in an artist statement. "Through interventions I test and invent mediators through which to understand place and public space." Well, that clears things up.


What he does is generate random but very particular sets of commands that dictate his wanderings and how he documents them (at what height he places the camera, for how long, etc.). So he walks Montreal, Croatia, or Taiwan, making seemingly random photos of manholes, pavement, cars, buildings, trash, doors, grass, men unloading a Coca-Cola truck.

A more sensitive soul might see this as Zen meditation on cities today, but I'm skeptical. Metzgar's art has the trappings of science — observation, data collection, charts — but instead of the observations building toward insight, as is the aim of science, Metzgar's purposeful randomness drains the observations of meaning.

Read Greg Cook's blog at gregcookland.com/journal.

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