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Contrainte / Restraint

An exhibition produced by the Groupe Molior

Rodrigo Matheus, Tokyo (2008)

Rodrigo Matheus, Tokyo (2008)
At the beginning all we see is a blurred image whose various elements are rather indistinct. But as the camera slowly zooms out, we can start identifying the grey solid blocks which appear to be floating over what we can now recognize as a kind of suburban scenario with the houses located in seemingly quiet streets. The lengthy camera movement is now accompanied by a cacophony of voices speaking in a foreign language—apparently Japanese.

A few seconds later, one enters what is familiar territory for most internet users; it now becomes clear that this is a Google Earth camera gradually revealing an aerial view of a city. Simultaneously, the soundtrack becomes increasingly more jarring, adding a certain sense of tension to this seemingly ordinary video. Soon, a few corporate logos start to pop up as if to denote locations that have been identified via satellite data.

But, as the camera continues to zoom out these logos start to rapidly proliferate, to the point when they almost entirely cover the depicted area. The sound slowly subsides and the logos start to vibrate madly and ridiculously in synchrony with a kind of pop techno track reminiscent of video game sounds.

Tokyo plays with the notion that the possibilities offered by recent surveillance techniques are undoubtedly seductive, as they potentially create windows to every part of the world at the click of a mouse. However, it equally reminds us that these same spaces also become much more vulnerable to the control and exploitation by corporate or military power.

Other works by Rodrigo Matheus in this exhibition: Grand Canyon and South Pole.

Rodrigo Matheus was born in 1974, in São Paulo. He completed a B.A. in multimedia at the Faculty of Arts and Communication of the University of São Paulo. He has exhibited extensively in Brazil and abroad. In 2008, he had a solo exhibition at Galeria Fortes Vilaça, São Paulo and took part in several group shows including Looks Conceptual or How I Mistook a Carl Andre for a Pile of Bricks at Galeria Vermelho, São Paulo, and Images Festival at Art Gallery of York University, Toronto. Other recent group exhibitions include Arquivo Geral at Centro de Arte Hélio Oiticica, Rio de Janeiro (2006) MAM na Oca at Oca, São Paulo (2006) and Paradoxos Brasil - Rumos Artes Visuais at Instituto Itaú Cultural, São Paulo, Centro Dragão do Mar Arte e Cultura, Fortaleza, Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Goiânia and at Paço Imperial, Rio de Janeiro (2005/2006). The artist is represented by Galeria Fortes Vilaça in São Paulo.