Simon Denny – Oversized copy of Shenzhen Mass Entrepreneurial Huaqiangbei market counter
(in OCT theme park style: electronic components) (2018)
The work of Simon Denny (b. Auckland, New Zealand, 1982, lives and works in Berlin) can be recognised by his unique visual style, with digital data and physical forms coming together in installations that combine sculpture, graphic design and moving images. Denny closely follows technological developments and investigates how they influence our world and experiences. The distinction between real and virtual, between what exists in cyberspace and what is tangible, can no longer clearly be made. Digital technology is increasingly interwoven with our lives. Denny is fascinated by ways in which the immense quantity of digital data is shared and controlled by companies and intelligence services.
For Hybrids, he made a reproduction of part of the 2017 work Real Mass Entrepreneurship, which was produced in Shenzhen. This city, also known as the Silicon Valley of China, is home to the latest technology giants and is a paradise for tech and gadget freaks. In 1980 Shenzhen became the first special economic zone in China: a place where the government permitted foreign trade. This allowed Shenzhen to grow from a small fishing town into a major metropolis based entirely on the development and mass production of electronics, and responsible for the majority of PCs and smartphones in the world. The work in Shenzhen consisted of a number of replicas of a typical sales desk for electronics, which can be seen in their tens of thousands at the city’s tech markets. The difference was that Denny did not have the pictures of devices and Chinese characters digitally printed, but instead invited Chinese craftspeople to paint them by hand.
His sculpture for Hybrids consisted of a reproduction of one of these unique replicas from Shenzhen. Denny had the sides of the counter photographed and then printed, deliberately inflating the size. Not only did Denny present a reproduction of a reproduction, he also demonstrated that a change of scale is possible in every format imaginable, and that this reproduction process can in fact be repeated infinitely, without too much expense and effort. By doing so, the artist is commenting on the notion of the uniqueness of the work of art in the digital era.