The Index

April 6, 2012 - Oct. 13, 2012


Index is a commissioned public art installation by Rensselaer arts alumni Jennifer and Kevin McCoy, which consists of multiple sculptures filmed via small, live cameras. The resulting software based video presentation, as well as the models, appear throughout public spaces. Inspired by a J.G. Ballard short story called The Index, in which an alphabetized list of people and places point to global conspiracy, the McCoys’ project examines the Ballardesque scenes of today, referencing globalization, technology, mass migrations, and war. Corporate campuses, film sets, Spanish Colonial Revival architecture, and factories all collide in a globalized mediated framework that exists to support utopian goals, even as it rests upon resource depletion, financial instabilities, and entropic decay. These problems of environmental and economic collapse persist in the face of the never-changing rhetoric of the assumed benefits of the technological future.

Works Shown

Near the Communications Tower

2012, Sculpture with electronics

Near the Communications Tower depicts a tar pit as a foreground to an embedded photo of an office building. The video, mounted flat to the base of the work where a fountain might be, contains a hyper-speed montage of scenes from contemporary life.

Near the New Villas

2012, Sculpture with electronics

Near the Villas explores the dichotomy between luxury construction on a depleted environment. The sculpture depicts a make-shift construction site that mixes scale model cranes, childhood building toys, and photos of middle eastern villas. These are embedded into unfinished sculptural forms, reflecting temporary and quickly built constructions. A small monitor contains footage of a childhood road trip through a much different landscape.

Next To the Parking Lot

2012, sculpture with electronics and sound

The sculptures in this series present liminal spaces, areas posited to be next to the desirable landmarks of contemporary life. Photographic backgrounds are embedded into eccentric land masses that extend and question the locations of the photograph's ostensible place. In Next to the Parking Lot, a photograph of a walled garden in the middle east is foregrounded with crashed luxury vehicles and a hastily disguised rocket launcher.

In Front of the Substation

2012, sculpture with electronics

In Front of the Substation depicts a utilitarian building perched on sand and debris. Safety orange fencing has been partially destroyed. The embedded video monitor shows images of acid colored rushing water.

Along the Roadside

2012, sculpture with electronics

The sculptures in this series present liminal spaces, areas posited to be next to the desirable landmarks of contemporary life. In Along the Roadside, a photograph of a cement factory looms behind a farm as a video imagines the road trip to get there.


2012, sculpture with electronics and sound

In Chrysalis, a blue tower rises, cracked open to reveal a fleshy pink interior structure. Scaffolding on the surface provides scale and suggests human presence, either within or without. The video projection and prog-rock inspired soundtrack deliver an image of future conditions.

At The Old Headquarters

2012, sculpture with electronics

In At the Old Headquarters, a cast plaster miniature of an office building sinks into roofing tar. Markings on the building are reminiscent of pixacao, Brazlian graffitti often found on multi story squat buildings. A roof mounted monitor shows a distorted and duplicated looping image of a parking lot.

Between the Resorts

2012, sculpture with electronics

Between the Resorts depicts a no mans land between a simulated ski slope and a simulated water park. Embedded video shows images of sand blowing across pavement.

Behind the Hillside

2012, electronic sculpture

In Behind the Hillside, miniature garbage covers the ostensible back side of a hill. The front of the hill is absent, posited to be the desirable site. Amongst the garbage, a small video monitor plays an interrupted image of wild grasslands.