In the Dust of the Stars
Installation, 42 magazines 13”x15 ½”/32cmx39 ½cm, 42 cardboard frames 21”x29”/ 53 ½cmx74cm, 6 fans, garbage, newspapers, dimensions variable
In this installation, C.T. Jasper continues to experiment with his interests in archiving, recycling old news and mixing it with fiction, reviving the ethos of the mythical Polish School of Posters and the nostalgia associated with ideas of the future under the former Soviet regime. This project also touches on the sometimes-delicate subject of editions and copies, considering the value placed on uniqueness amidst the possibility of limitless mechanical repetition.
The exhibition is primarily comprised of pairs of nearly identical editions of 26 film and culture magazines that were published in Poland during the decades preceding the collapse of the Eastern Bloc. The subtle alterations that Jasper has made to the original editions function as a form of intervention that pits Eastern European cinematic science fiction in comparison with its Western counterpart by questioning how it fueled the dreams of the future, how it was used to spread Marxist propaganda and later, how it was used as a tool of antigovernment expression. The magazines are presented as works on paper in slanting frames, and the gallery is split into two spaces by a central wall that creates a mirrored relationship; the separate editions of the magazines seem to be reflections of one another. Jasper’s alterations between the different editions are subtle but through, in some cases the magazines have been extensively manipulated. The extent of manipulation is not readily apparent, though, and some of the magazines appear that they might simply be scanned copies. This careful intervention on Jasper’s part creates a dynamic of tension between the role of the artist and the idea of mass production. The magazines are surrounded by random trash that is circulated around the gallery by a set of industrial fans set atop pedestals.
By revisiting magazines published before his birth and during his early childhood, by reviving cinematic gems such as Solaris or Stalker along with less memorable films such as In the Dust of the Stars (quoted in the work’s title), Jasper addresses several paradoxes: memory and the remembrance of things past, the need for reenactments of history, the absurd nostalgia for the polarized world from before the collapse of the Berlin Wall amidst the sudden rise in the market for pre-1989 memorabilia—from shoes, telephones and kitchen-ware to the obsolete and dismantled visions of the future, the belief that Soviet-style communism would one day deliver its promise of a utopian society - prosperous, just and egalitarian.