JG Mair’s work occupies the space between what we actually see and what we want to see. This ethos is clearly evident with the web-based work Keyboard 2.0 on exhibition at The Ministry of Casual Living window. It marks the first occasion that this piece has been shown in Victoria.
Approaching the window, one is presented with a simple sheet of paper in a real-world circa 1952 Olivetti typewriter sitting upon a base. On the paper is a QR code that implicitly directs participants to scan with their mobile phones. From there, it is revealed that their phone's QWERTY keyboard has somehow been replaced with different letters that now spell out a discrete message within the keys. The message itself has double meaning as it can be perceived as either benign advice or a warning about imminent surveillance.
Keyboard 2.0 seemingly intervenes a precious personal space: our phone. Mair employs the trope of a classic analog typewriter to intentionally place us in a disorienting comprehension gap where boundaries blur between the real and virtual, the past and present, the confidential and disclosed. As well, the interactivity of the functioning keys invites contemplation around the refashioning of communication and the societal response within this ever shifting paradigm.
Programming for Keyboard 2.0 by Bill Pettigrew.
Jeff G.(JG) Mair is a Vancouver-based artist whose work combines painting, writing, video, and web. Mair has a BFA from UVIC and a BEd (Art) from UBC. He has exhibited in Canada, United States, South Korea and Japan.