All Photos: Jupiter Desphy
Oscar Wilde once said, "It is a very sad thing that nowadays there is so little useless information." He may have had plenty to be sad about in the late 19th century, but the flamboyant Irish writer would have little to lament these days. Useless information is everywhere. It has bred and multiplied, and with advances in technology, has found more and more channels to reach us, to flood us with knowledge we may or may not have wanted in the first place. The mutation of information and the expansiveness of its presence in modern society is the theme of artist Cole Sternberg's newest work, "The Content is Bleeding Through."
The large-scale installation was commissioned by collector Normandie Keith and resides on the bottom floor of a rustic guest home in her spacious Los Angeles backyard. By nature of the structure of the piece, upon entering the room, the senses are overwhelmed by the sheer volume of visual stimuli. Old model television sets, painted entirely gold, are stacked in front of the wall opposite the door like some sort of shrine. The floor, walls, and windows are all covered in scrawled text snatched straight from websites like Perez Hilton, TMZ, and People.com. The result is disjointed and manic. The eyes flit from one snippet of info to another, all strung together with little context and no continuity ("Khloe still isn't pregnant"..."Lifestyle counts the most stylish stars"). Alternately, the ceiling is comprised of ten wooden panels painted in heavy acrylic that bear the handwritten names of Nobel Prize winners and their accomplishments, names that are far more foreign to the eye than those of the hundreds of celebrities all over the walls. The effect is total envelopment; wherever you look you cannot escape the meaningless snippets of information.
Sternberg's work is not speaking to a new idea nor is it particularly innovative in its medium or delivery. However, it does address the media's strategy of using assault rather than accessibility to disperse information, and the piece is effective in its immersion. You can't help but leave the neon lit room with the unsettling feeling that you know more about Lindsey Lohan's exploits than you do about the greatest minds of our time.
"The Content is Bleeding Through" is on display by appointment only. You can see more of Sternberg's work on his website.