“Hamartia” is an error committed in ignorance that results in unintended disaster. In his current solo exhibition at The Green Bicycle Organization, Daniel Baird applies this concept to the potential demise of human technological advancement. Space, technology, institutional preservation and exhibition, and the forces of nature are confronted through re-presentation as museum artifacts. In “Untitled (HP Pavillion #ze4560us, August 2003 – April 2007),” a laptop immersed in desiccant, a material used to maintain dryness in museum exhibition cases, is enclosed in a protective plexiglass virtrine. “Hamartia,” the show’s namesake, consists of desiccant beneath six feet of soil contained in a plexiglass pillar. Visually striking and placed in the center of the gallery, this piece suggests a commentary on environmental issues in a way that arises more subtly, and more enticingly, in other works. “Acquisition,” for example, a sheet of plexiglass printed with mirrored window tint representing early hominid hand axes, juxtaposes one human innovation, the use of tools, with another, potentially more superfluous invention—tinted windows. This piece brings attention to the myriad tools available contemporarily, all having sprung forth from humankind’s monumental leap that was the use of tools. Shown amidst a grouping of plants that belong to the gallery, a second consideration arises, that of technological advancement and the attempt to manipulate and contain the natural, or the naturally occurring. The contained presentation of the natural alongside the invented and manufactured in this exhibition questions these very distinctions while positing technology itself as a kind of hamartia. (Jamie Keesling)
Through May 30 at The Green City Bicycle Organization, 1626 N. California Ave. Open by appointment.