Mungo Thomson
Time Life
March 5–April 16, 2022

22 East 2nd Street
New York, NY, 10003

Karma is pleased to present Time Life, a solo exhibition of seven short videos by Mungo Thomson. This is Thomson’s first exhibition with the gallery.

Mungo Thomson is a multidisciplinary artist whose work approaches material culture through a lens of deep time and cosmic scale. In Time Life, Thomson debuts a body of work that has occupied the artist for almost a decade: a series of stop-motion animations that use reference encyclopedias, photo books, how-to guides and production manuals as their raw material.

The project imagines these books being scanned by a high-speed robotic book scanner, the type used by universities and tech companies to archive libraries, and proposes such a device as a new kind of filmmaking apparatus: a machine making flip-book-like animations, spitting out short anthropological essays while digitizing books for the Internet.

Presented as distinct chapters, Thomson’s videos take as their subjects a wide array of human activity, from cooking to exercise to gardening to art. Highly choreographed, their thousands of images are displayed at a high frame rate, just faster than the brain can process: food is prepared; people stretch, run, dance and do yoga; flowers wheel and magnify; sculptures revolve; fingers tie decorative knots; printed color guides pulse in and out. Analog publications are reconsidered in the context of contemporary technologies. Thomson documents the passage of these documents into their digital afterlife.

Thomson exploits the dualities of the digital and the analog, the video and the book, and the automated and the handmade, binding them together. He exposes the moment of digitization as a moment of transformation, in which information is sublimated into a new mode, like a solid becoming a gas. This moment is frozen, opened up and zoomed in on, and is revealed as an entry point into a startling and profound conversation about history, cultural material, technology and perception.

Time Life features soundtracks by Andrea Centazzo and Pierre Favre, Laurie Spiegel, Sven-Åke Johansson, Lee Ranaldo, Ernst Karel, Pauline Oliveros and Adrian Garcia.