By Billy Rubin
Published in Vox Vernacular
Feb. 25, 2014

In 2001, the transition from analogue to digital was imminent in all forms of communications and media. The artist saw this transition as yet another variation in a long chain of encoding and decoding of information. In an interview with Michael Kimmelmann, Oursler described the Antennas/Pods series, "Although in many ways they allow us to communicate better, all systems of information, whether semaphore, Morse code, or basic encryption, degrade the signal as well as the quality of communication. Herein lies the contemporary dilemma: although we are flooded with information and in constant contact, we are also more isolated and somehow less informed by our environment. All humanity is forced to conform to the strictures and engineering specifications of current technology, although flesh and blood can never be translated into signal and noise. The beautiful structure of the TV antenna is determined by its ability to capture signals out of the sky. These soon-to-be-obsolete, found objects seem to be reaching into the sky for significance." The antennas, typically displayed on a roof, were modified and placed in the gallery context to receive projected signals. Around the edge of the gallery on the floor were the pods, reflecting the light of the projections. Exposing the skeletal structure of the antennas, Oursler equates their mechanical function to certain aspects of human nature, which grasps needily at this escapist experience. The disembodied characters slide through the metal, glass, and plexiglass surfaces of these artworks in a state of transition, eluding bonds of permanence.