unidisplay, 2012 | Exhibition View, Museum für Modern Kunst Frankfurt am Main (MMK), Photo by Axel Schneider, Courtesy Galerie EIGEN + ART Leipzig/Berlin VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2016
Carsten Nicolai is a both an artist and musician. The visualization of apparently imperceptible phenomena in art, music, and science form the main focus of his interdisciplinary work. He uses electronic sound and visual art as a hybrid toy. His work is less like work, but more like the product of an ever-changing laboratory, and is influenced by the impulses and questions of perception in general. Inspired by scientific reference systems, Nicolai often engages mathematic patterns such as grids and codes, as well as error, random, and self-organizing structures.
The installation “reflektor distortion” – conceived as a rotating, water-filled basin – is inspired by the shape of a parabolic mirror that ‘rotates’ water via centrifugal force. The work consists of three main components: mirror, image, and reflection. Both the curve and distortion of the water surface is affected by speed and integrated resistors that generate a continually new and reorganized mirror reflection. The water surface will be further distorted via speaker by resonating low sound frequencies. The function of the mirror is hereby eminent: the mirror surface is the medium that reveals reality as distorted reflection. Raising the question of the observed and the real image, the installation plays with the thesis that we all have a permanently distorted perception of reality.