group show 59
Numerology is a divinatory art that highlights the occult significance of numbers and bears significant yet decidedly different interpretations in Arabic, Chaldean, Chinese, Indian, Japanese, and Jewish cultures. The Greek philosopher Pythagoras believed that numbers – or mathematics in general – impose order on an otherwise chaotic world, a notion that resonates with debunked 19th-century ideas about photography as a dispassionate documentary visual technology.
By its association with other mystical belief systems, non-practitioners dismiss numerology as hokum. Jon and I kept that skepticism in mind when publishing Humble's final open call of 2018, balancing the day-to-day impact of numbers (student loan debt, mortgage or car payments, extra/legal governmental data collection) against something more... esoteric. This, nearly two decades after the famous scene in the film Good Will Hunting in which Matt Damon, questioned by a naysaying academic elite, made math accessible to us all, backed by a waify soundtrack from the late Elliot Smith. We digress.
The photographs featured in this exhibition portray numbers as metaphorical and metaphysical markers in daily life. You may, like me, find yourself in a Badder-Meinhof state of mind after absorbing these images; marveling at patterns and applying meaning to numbers that wouldn't cross your mind otherwise.
I'm taken by Robin Cracknell alpha-numeric intervention that attempts to quantify a moment of adolescent reverie. Ali Kate Cherkis' composition of three identically dressed Hasidic Jewish girls also thrills me for capturing one of those fleeting moments when discrete elements magically align. And then there’s Paul Berger’s iconic chalkboard scribbles which, made in the analog 1970s, are an eerie premonition to today’s digital data quantifying world.
As always, we’re thrilled to wrap our 2018 online exhibitions with this enigmatic riddle. We hope that you will sit with this virtual installation, and its odd magic to scramble your minds.
Happy New Year!
Roula and Jon