Google Searching For God at ebersB9

Review by Jeriah Hildwine

Jason Ferguson's current exhibition, Google Searching for God, at ebersb9, features evidence of his attempts at finding a higher power through an Internet search engine.  The evidence presented consists of two 24x36" digital prints, and a hand-built light table displaying a scroll of typewriter-embossed paper.

The prints, titled God Sighting A and B along with an address, show two results of a Google map search for "god," one in Germany, the other in Virginia.  No information is provided as to why God was found in those locations, although the standard Google point-marker shows exactly where He is.  The high-quality archival prints, mounted on aluminum, lend a touch of seriousness to what is essentially a found digital image.

The scroll on the light table, entitled Wikigod, is a sixty-foot scroll of paper, embossed using an inkless typewriter with the entire hypertext transcript of the Wikipedia entry for "God."  The light table is topped with a sheet of plywood.  Small cutouts in the plywood correspond to each occurrence of the word "God" in the text, allowing the light to pass through and illuminate the paper.  The effect is both a pun on "illuminated manuscripts" and a clean and elegant aesthetic presentation of an attempt at understanding what God is.

The slightly misplaced reverence for an artifact of technology perhaps inadvertently recalls

 Walter M. Miller Jr.'s book A Canticle for Leibowitz, in which a post-apocalyptic monk lovingly copies (and illuminates, with flourishes and gold leaf) the blueprint for a minor piece of technology he cannot even remotely comprehend.  For Ferguson, however, technology is a means to an end:  the finding and comprehension of God.


Depending on the lens through which one views this work, it either gently reminds the viewer of the inadequacy of the human mind (and of human artifice) in finding and understanding God, or else mocks the futility of the search itself.  For me it does both.  Neither evangelical nor heretical, Ferguson's work provides us with a fresh angle on a pervasive human activity.  It is worth a look, even if you're not sure what you'll find.

ebersB9 is located at 1359 W. Chicago Ave. Apt. B9
CHICAGO TRIBUNE VIDEO

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  • Very interesting piece, I especially liked the effect of the light illuminating behind his word. It's a shame they didn't include images with the article.

  • In reply to JasonFerguson:

    Hi Jason, I don't know why images are linked to a defunct website and not locally on the ChicagoNow server. For everyone else, pictures are here http://chicagoartreview.wordpress.com/category/openings/

  • In reply to JasonFerguson:

    My fault, I presume. This was a while ago so I don't remember for sure, but I assume I must have linked to images on ebersb9's website, rather than hosting them here. So when ebersb9 changed to ebersmoore, we lost the links? To prevent this problem in the future, I now download and re-host all images in my posts, for just this reason. Sorry, my bad! (Thanks for that link, Kathryn!)

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