Originally created for MoMa in New York in 2011, Reliquary House is an audiovisual performance by Brooklyn-based electronic musician Oneohtrix Point Never (Daniel Lopatin) and visual artist Nate Boyce. Lopatin's sound is resonant of recurrent vintage synthesizers and ambient waves, producing music likened to a cracked mirror refracting the sounds of the past.
The original presentation at MOMA was really potent. It was hyperbolic in a way that bordered on parody, maybe even more so than what was originally intended
Connecting through their rhythmic soundscapes and kinetic landscapes, Lopatin layers his sound with Boyce’s CGI videos. This technique allows him to transport CGI replica images of sculptures by David Smith, Jacob Epstein and Anthony Caro; taking them through a psychedelic flux, arriving at what can be visually described as a highly hallucinogenic 3D realm.
Dazed Digital: How did you and Daniel Lopatin start working together? Did you know each other before?
Nate Boyce: We met through Robert Beatty who I know through my friend Takeshi Murata. Robert showed Daniel my videos and then he got in touch with me back in 2009. It was perfect timing in that I had this idea to make a video based on Frank Stella’s Irregular Polygon series, but was stalled on how to resolve it. So then Daniel proposed a collaboration and his music seemed like the perfect way to inappropriately, but ambiguously dramatize these art historical works reconstructed as CGI objects.
DD: Your work seems to reconfigure the museum setting, pulling historical art objects into a new context, how do you think showing Reliquary House in other art institutions will affect the work?
Nate Boyce: I’m interested to see myself. The original presentation at MOMA was really potent. It was hyperbolic in a way that bordered on parody, maybe even more so than what was originally intended. But I think the contextual ambiguity of doing the performances in other places will also be interesting.
DD: How would you say the language of computer generated art speaks within the art world currently?
Nate Boyce: Well, what I’m interested in is a kind of neo-materialist understanding of digital information. It’s all malleable and plastic like any other material and I think a lot of artists are beginning to address the implications of that.
DD: If you could, which one of your videos would you most like to step into?
Nate Boyce: I don’t really like the idea of the stepping into the video, I’d rather have a Videodrome type of situation where image comes out in high relief, but I don’t want to get completely sucked in.
DD: What can we expect to see from you after your upcoming European shows?
Nate Boyce: More collaboration with Daniel, a solo music project and then back to the studio to finish up new sculptural works for various shows this Fall and 2k13.
For a one-off show as part of the Barbican’s ‘Transcender’ series, Reliquary House will be performed live on 30th September. 'Music For Reliquary House' is out now as part of a split LP between Oneohtrix Point Never and Rene Hell on NNA Tapes.
Text by Tamsin Weir