Riley_Harmon__Projects
Selected_Archive__2006—2022
Infinite Monkey Theorem installation view, photo courtesy Showroom MAMA Rotterdam
Infinite Monkey Theorem installation view, photo courtesy Showroom MAMA Rotterdam
Infinite Monkey Theorem installation view detail
Infinite Monkey Theorem Compression Artifact, 2015
×

Infinite Monkey Theorem

(2015)

installation, films, theatrical set, sculptural objects

If a monkey randomly hits the keys on a typewriter for an infinite amount of time, there is a statistical probability that it will type the complete works of William Shakespeare. The chances are slim, but not impossible. Such possibilities create a space for doubt and fantasy. As a tendency of human desire to fill this potential space; stories arise, scientific hypotheses originate, conspiracy theories are born and ultimately, meaning is generated.

In our current information age where knowledge and scientific evidence are highly distributed, the truth appears to be increasingly accessible but the human need for a meaningful connection between events remains. The Internet plays a major role in this as a platform whereby anyone can create, shape and disseminate their own truths and realities. Individuals find each other and an audience, and gather evidence to substantiate their stories and theories. The default mode of thinking in our era is that the truth is always in doubt, nothing is what it seems, and everything is possible.

In 2012, Riley Harmon received an email from a conspiracy theorist. He was alleged of being an actress, named Riley Harmon, who had been hired by the US government to fake a tragedy. Based on the content of his earlier artworks and experiences in film and theatre, this flight of imagination was not completely out of the blue. However, the probabilities that his accuser would conclude it was Harmon, were remote.

In the second film installation, created specifically for the exhibition, Harmon expands upon his experiments developed while working on A Method for Blue Logic, 2014. In the new work, Still Life Study, 2015, a theatrical set built from objects of the earlier production mutates in an endless loop. In this way, Harmon’s work reflects back to us an epistemological anxiety as we attempt to generate and assign meaning to the events of the world around us.

(press release Showroom MAMA)


[1] installation view, photo courtesy Showroom MAMA Rotterdam
[2] installation view, photo courtesy Showroom MAMA Rotterdam
[3] installation view detail
[4] Compression Artifact, 2015
© 2022 ✉ info at rileyharmon dot com