Joan Pamboukes, Interfered interior of the Ballantine House parlor, Newark, New Jersey, 2016, archival inkjet print, 6 x 19 feet, courtesy of the artist
Interfered interior of the Ballantine House parlor, Newark, New Jersey is a site-specific installation, created by artist Joan Pamboukes. Informed and inspired by Newark Museum’s historic Ballantine House, the artist used readily available technology – an iPhone camera and a panorama app – through which she investigates the effects of media and interactivity in our society. In this work, Pamboukes also explores the way we experience the world through the interference of constantly evolving technologies and ubiquity of images online. The device’s basic technological capabilities and photographic functions, enables Pamboukes to depict the parlor section of the house as distorted and fragmented, causing the uneven surface and pixilated texture. The circular movement of the camera and the app’s digital ability to read certain areas and objects, or pass over them, personifies the space, making this domestic scene imaginary and fantastic. The room’s distinctive character, the scale of the work in relation to our body, as well as the distorted representation of space, conjure a psychedelic feel, as though trapped in an Alice in Wonderland moment. Experiencing this room through this work, rather than the site itself, redefines a moment in time, and by fusing together two disparate worlds, of technological advancement and history, Pamboukes further detaches the place from its past. Observing this historical and bourgeois environment in the context of Newark’s current climate, raises questions about the role of the city today, its changing landscape, diverse architecture, and its relation to the past. By observing this interior through a contemporary lens (literally), the space becomes almost unimaginable and even fictional in today’s world, echoing in a sense how we witness, stage and present false realities.
Built in 1885 for the celebrated Newark beer-brewing family, the Ballantine House contains a suite of galleries and period rooms and has been part of the Newark Museum since 1937.
Dedicated in memory of Ben McClellan.
This exhibition is made possible by Chancellor Nancy Cantor’s Seed Grants. The purpose of the Seed Grant Galleries is integration: of spaces, of voices, and of intellectual/aesthetic disciplines. Each of the five year-long pop-up exhibitions will appear in a non-art space in order to enhance Rutgers’ academic environment by expanding on the ways in which knowledge can be acquired outside the classroom. Seed Grant Galleries will be established through the collaborative efforts of those within and without the University context, will highlight the relevance of visual literacy in understanding our intellectual landscape, and will provide platforms for voices that historically may have been excluded from the History of Art or recognized academic pursuit.