Yucef Merhi


In 1913, Luigi Russolo, an Italian painter, composer, and one of the founding members of the Futurist movement, sent a letter to his friend and peer Francesco Balilla Pratella. Russolo stated that the human ear has become accustomed to the speed, energy and noise of the urban and industrial landscape. His letter revealed that this new sound palette would require new approaches to musical instrumentation and composition. Then, he drew a series of conclusions for enhancing the creative act by using and applying technology. Russolo’s letter, which came to be regarded as a Futurist manifesto, was appropriately titled in Italian as "L'Arte dei Rumori" (The Art of Noise,) and is considered one of the most influential texts in 20th-century musical aesthetics.

The idea of using noise as a form of art has evolved into different mediums. Some programming languages even have a noise function for random operations. In the field of video art, noise was integrated as video feedback. Today, contemporary artists such as Luiz d’Orey, describe the disturbances and irregular fluctuations of digital transmissions as glitches.

d'Orey’s intricate compositions signal the continuity of noise and abstraction in an era dominated by algorithmic augmentation, electronic codependency, and addictive behaviors. The technological precision in his body of works embraces the ubiquitous spreading of a deeply saturated life: big data marketing, personalized ads, gaming and social media disorders.

Cascades, the works on this exhibition, blend streams of visual and textual information. In computer jargon, cascading is a type of arrangement of applications that are open on a Windows desktop. In this arrangement, the windows of the currently running applications overlap each other. Similarly, d’Orey’s Cascades display multiple layers of materials and interpretations. The painted geometric patterns reference glitches and broken screens, creating a recognizable texture of TV static noise.

On the bottom of several arrays of laser-cut words, dissected images, colorful tapes, and spray-painted stripes, there are ordered compositions holding the kinetic energy of color, evoking the vibrant legacy of masters such as Cruz-Diez. Nevertheless, d'Orey's raw material doesn't come from observations on the physical action of light, but Facebook and Twitter interactions. Every Cascade echoes our digital footprints sourced from posts on trending topics, including global warming, immigration, abortion, news, and—of course—fake news.

The artist’s interest in the ambiguity between code and message, pixel and picture, as well as the process of transmitting information, and capturing the circulation of data, conveys the new set of principles underlying and guiding social and technological transformation.

Rumor is an invitation to step into the growing disturbances that once inspired Russolo to reframe the presence of noise, and explore the networked reflections of our digital existence.