Presented by ZERO1
In January 2009 Michael Najjar stood on the summit of Mount Aconcagua, at 6,962 meters the highest mountain in the world outside of the Himalayas. The photographic material gathered in the course of the three week trek forms the basis of the "High Altitude" work series, which visualizes the development of the leading global stock market indices over the past 20-30 years. The virtual data of the stock market charts are resublimated in the craggy materiality of the Argentinean mountainscape. Just like the indices, mountains too have their timeline, their own biography. The rock formations soaring skywards like so many layered folds of a palimpsest bear witness to the life history of the mountain – stone storehouses of deep time unmeasureable on any human scale. The immediate reality of nature thus becomes a virtual experience. Such experience of virtuality is strikingly exemplified by the global economic and financial system. If the focus used to be on the exchange of goods and commodities, it is now securely on the exchange of immaterial information. The information society has brought about a tectonic shift in our understanding of space and time. Humankind is confronted with a process of such dynamic complexity that the borderlines we seemingly identify at one moment are already sublimated in the next. In future the virtual value system could demand its proper reincarnation in the real world. The jagged rock formations of “high altitude” are emblematic of the thin edge separating reality and simulation.
This project is presented as part of the exhibition
Seeking Silicon Valley at the ZERO1 Garage
September 12-December 8, 2012
Admission is free
lives and works in Berlin, Germany
Michael Najjar´s work focuses on key components of a society driven and controlled by computer and information technology. His work reflects contemporary developments and create visions and utopias of future social structures emerging from the impact of new technologies. Hybrid photography, the fusion of realistic elements with fictitious realities is a recurrent hallmark of his photographic productions and video work, which are composed in thematically focused series. Simulation and hyper-reality are the foundations of Najjar’s art as he utilizes digital and computer-generated visual elements to fuse and create new forms of imagery. Harald Szeemann exhibited Michael Najjar´s work in 2004 in ”the beauty of failure / the failure of beauty“ at the Joan Miró Foundation in Barcelona. His work was part of the 2006 Venice Biennale's 10th International Architecture Exhibition, he was also included in the 9th Havana Biennale 2006 and Convergence Biennale Beijing 2007. In 2008 Michael Najjar had his large retrospective on view at the Museum for Photography and the Museum for Contemporary Art GEM in The Hague. Michael Najjar currently works on a new series entiteled “outer space“, which is dedicated to the latest developments in space technologies. He is also one of Virgin Galactic's Pioneer Astronauts, with plans to be the first artist in space in 2013.