An Inventory of Shimmers

BY Katrina Kufer / May 18 2017 / 02:59 AM

An exhibition at the MIT List Visual Arts Center in Massachusetts examines the intimate effect and affect of objects through art

An Inventory of Shimmers
Image courtesy of the artist and Overduin & Co., Los Angeles
Erika Vogt. Secret Traveler Navigator. 2010. 16mm and digital video, colour, sound with wooden stand, enamel painted screen surface, and painted interior room. 12 minutes.

An Inventory of Shimmers: Objects of Intimacy in Contemporary Art, curated by Henriette Huldisch, opts out of a purely visual approach in favour of varied modes of perception to explore sometimes opposing levels of intimacy. In a statement, the exhibition is described as “originally inspired by ideas of affect, which, in the most general sense, describes a set of unconscious states that determine how bodies—human or nonhuman—are shaped, modified, or affected by the intensity of their interactions.”

The artworks act as vehicles for and of different kinds of emotional and physical transactions, proving equally as relevant to universal sentimental attachment or art trends in the 1990s, as to the historical emphasis on bodily experience presented by 17th century philosopher Baruch Spinoza. The exhibition also draws inspiration on both a conceptual and physical level from contemporary French philosopher Roland Barthe’s The Neutral (2002), where he characterised the fluid and changing nature of “affectiveness” as “the inventory of shimmers is of nuances, of states, of changes.”

Artists Andrea Büttner, Sophie Calle, Alejandro Cesarco, Jason Dodge, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Antonia Hirsch, Jill Magid, Park McArthur, Lisa Tan, Erika Vogt, Susanne M. Winterling, and Anicka Yi are brought together to present works that tackle the complex, intimate relationships to objects. Their offerings are laden with invisible traces, intuitive infusions and latently read perceptions that, the exhibition hopes, “are variously tethered to affect, emotion, or feeling yet at the same time eschew sentimentality and expressivity.”

An Inventory of Shimmers: Objects of Intimacy in Contemporary Art runs until 16 July at the MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. For more information visit