Swiss artist Alan Bogana’s computer-generated video projection Flag of Convenience (2014) is one of several “case studies” of his Cave Caustics Project (2013–15), which explores the behaviour of light on various translucent media such as water, plastic, diamonds and textiles. The large-format projection shows an ethereal white cloth gracefully dancing in the light against a dark, indeterminate background. On closer inspection, the palpable tangibility of the light’s transient play soon reveals itself to be a digital materialisation – an inexplicable apparition, since the flag itself is invisible. This is what makes Bogana’s work so remarkable: all we see is the impact of the light, or rather the refraction and reflection of the light rays on the folds of the moving fabric. Physically speaking, we see the caustic patterns of light on the transparent fabric, not normally perceivable to a human eye.
The artist’s systematic experimentation with sophisticated computer graphics simulation makes the – light’s pure movement – visible, by dissolving the direct and genuine relationship between the image (the flag) and its reproduction (the video projection). Instead, he replaces the flag’s likeness with a third element, the refraction of light on the surface of its fabric. The title, Flag of Convenience, adds an ironic dimension to this theme of substitution. In shipping, the registration of a flag of convenience serves to dissociate a ship from its actual national provenance and to sail under the flag and regulations of a foreign state.
Bogana allows us to very poetically sound out – and grasp – a barely comprehensible basic condition of our perception.
(Text: Bettina Back)
Alan Bogana was born in 1979 in Switzerland. Bogana a multidisciplinary artist based in Geneva, Switzerland, who’s art practice involves sculpture, computer graphics, electronics, time-based media and holography. His works are usually presented in the form of installations.
During the last years his research has focused on the exploration, real and fictional, of the behavior of light and its interactions with matter. He investigates this broad field of study through various means, such as computer graphics simulations of impossible phenomena or the manipulation of translucent, phosphorescent and holographic materials.
Alan Bogana completed a Fine Arts Diploma with honours at the Geneva University of Art and Design, a specialization in computer graphics as well as in artistic research methodologies at the Zürich University of Art and Design. He has exhibited in Europe, in the United States, in the Emirates and in South Africa. He has been artist in residence at the Swiss Institute in Rome, at the Cité internationale des arts in Paris, at the Sommerakademie Zentrum Paul Klee in Bern, in Cape Town with Pro Helvetia and in Zug with the Landis & Gyr Foundation.