Social media, CCTV, facial recognition—we live in a society in which we’re incessantly being followed. Twenty years ago, Craig Kalpakjian imagined our present with computer-generated prints and animations that were among the first artworks to incorporate digital effects. His images of empty offices, corridors and HVAC equipment depicted the world as an airless void, hermetically sealed under the watchful stare of surveillance cameras.
Since then, his approach has grown ever more abstract. In his current exhibition, the gallery is hung with computer renderings of gradient studies in prismatic patterns. The front room is dominated by a robotic spotlight suspended from a massively intrusive steel truss dipped in black. Inert at first, the apparatus comes to life at programmed intervals to shine a beam on one of the prints—a monochromatic field paired in a corner with a mirror. When illuminated, the piece creates the doubled image of a radiant orb, but it also makes you feel as if a cyclops is looking over your shoulder.
The back room includes reproduced pages of an owner’s manual for an AIBO robot dog as well as digitally limned concentric squares (sets of doors, actually, in recessed spaces) that resemble a mash-up of Josef Albers and James Turrell. Indeed, in distilling paranoia to a sublime essence, Kalpakjian’s efforts suggest nothing so much as a Kafkaesque version of Light and Space art.