Born 1964, Newcastle, NSW. Lives and works New York, US
Ian Burns’ works reimagine the consumer technologies that now define many human activities. In Circle (2016) two inflated latex gloves levitate around a ring of fans programmed to turn on and off in sequence. For Burns, who lives in New York City, the gloves represent a ‘carnivalesque’ stand-in for human beings; and are used in response to both the Australian news about the treatment of asylum seekers, and police violence against African Americans in the USA.
Scroll (2016) is constructed from 56 digital alarm clocks connected together and reprogrammed by the artist. Burns was inspired to make this work while thinking about how ‘morning talk shows on the radio are pervading our thinking with noise’.
When I posted a picture on-line of a busted open digital alarm clock I was surprised at how many people came to the idea that I was building a bomb, which only went to prove the level at which tabloid driven paranoias are seeping into our thinking and attitudes. Though vigilance and awareness are important…impulsive responses are revealing of our fears and their sources. So these clocks have all had their sound capability altered to make a kind of ‘ticking’ when they come on.