WasitacatisaW features a series of interconnected sculptures made from usb cables, paraffin, LEDs and micro controllers as well as three new wall works.
USB cables are the only cables that allow information and power to flow in both directions. But while the power always travels the information gets lost at a certain cable length—the longer the cable, the higher the entropy.
Knot making is an ancient craft to build structures, form containers and create decorative objects. It has always been used as a mnemonic technique to remember and pass on history; the knot tied in a handkerchief, knot writing systems, and tapestry, connect knot making, information, and power in a political sense. Cat’s cradle, a mathematical game played all around the world, creates patterns and knots that can be passed back and forth between pairs of hands as a complex evolving collective practice.
Through knotting together USB cables, Johanna Strobel literally and conceptually creates nets and structures of information and power, which form connections, contain, hold, and actually power sculpted paraffin works which feature reliefs of hands and interwoven structures.
Today, information is the key concept drawn upon to frame and explain the world, life and things —analogous to the ether in earlier times. The ether, one of the five classical elements, is a hypothetical substance which was imagined to either be a liquid or a solid and supposedly filled the universe to hold the stars in the sky and allow light to travel.
The liquid and solid states of paraffin lie close together, it melts at body temperature. The translucent material has another inherent relationship to light; for centuries it has been used to make candles. Holding shapes, paraffin wax can carry information—as a fingerprint, a seal or a marquette. Because of its ability to change its aggravation state it references the idea of the ether and also reminds of Descartes’ wax argument which shows that there is an act of judgment involved in perception.
Johanna’s mind-bending multi-media sculptural installation resonates with an urgent longing for an orderly system while a sense of entropy surfaces. It alludes to our need to find order and meaning but acknowledges the futility of this task. There is no one way of looking at things.