David Cotterrell  The Ostrich Experiments

4 October - 3 November 2013

Private View: Friday 4 October 6 - 9 pm

David Cotterrell’s fourth solo exhibition at Danielle Arnaud explores the illusion of chance amidst a dominant culture of reductive choice. The Ostrich Experiments invites participants to consider their actions and reactions within a closed loop of predetermination.

A series of logic systems, some complex state-of-the-art programs, others analogue re-enactments of 1980s gaming, suggests the neutered nature of contemporary autonomy.

Each work developed for exhibition, including a fruit machine dispensing fortune cookie wisdom, an automated Russian Roulette machine, a ‘cocktail cabinet’ game of attrition and a semi-intelligent, voice-activated Call Centre, routes back on itself, creating a death loop or stalemate. The logic of each system, however sophisticated, becomes irrelevant when it is forced to confront its equal opposite number. The recursive systems become impotent and the effect of opponents, combatants or participants is neutralised to the point of obsolescence.

The scenarios of computer science suggest the potential for an Ostrich Algorithm: a strategy of wilfully ignoring potential problems on the basis that the likelihood of their occurrence would be so rare as to negate planning for them. Cotterrell here reveals the realities of such potential narratives, inviting those who interact with them to devise a humane stance that can create new fictions for contemporary battlegrounds.

David Cotterrell is an installation artist working across media and technologies to explore the social and political tendencies of a world at once shared and divided. The practice is typified by an interest in intersection: whether fleeting encounter or heavily orchestrated event, Cotterrell’s works explore the human condition and the breaks or nuances that can lead to a less ambiguous understanding of the world they inhabit. Encapsulating the roles of programer, producer and director, Cotterrell works to develop projects that can embrace the quiet spaces that are the sites for action, which might (or might not) be clearly understood in the future. Cotterrell’s work has been commissioned and shown extensively in Europe, the United States and Asia. He is Professor of Fine Art at Sheffield Hallam University.