Public Domain by Marina Xenofontos is an ambitious new commission conceived as a series of gestures that combine installation, kinetic sculpture and a video game. Xenofontos’ work examines the way ideology and cultural knowledge surface in personal histories and material forms. The exhibition’s title sets up a tension between images and objects that are in free circulation in both the real and virtual worlds, and the often deeply personal content explored in the work. It speaks to the ubiquitous and often overlooked cultural materials that contribute to the fabric of civic life, and the sense in which modern social relations are largely mediated by representations that come to replace directly-lived experience. Some of these mass-produced objects feature in the exhibition, each withdrawn from an undifferentiated realm of circulation, singled out and salvaged by the artist who invests them with personal significance, elevating their status in the exhibition site.
The poetic register of Xenofontos’ work resists straightforward interpretation or reduction to a singular meaning. Overlaying the anecdotal and the monumental, the material and the digital, the work somehow approaches the feeling of a world simultaneously lived in physical and virtual spaces, the past and the present; an entanglement of cultural histories, symbols and imaginings of a future, held in the materials, images and memories that populate and agitate the world around us.