Nothing in that Drawer


It's not often that the Judeo-Christian prophet Elijah's name is invoked in the context of new media art, but American artist Elliot Malkin claims Elijah is the inspiration for his recent collaboration with Anees Assali, Tele-Absence. In this piece, Malkin and Assali have done Minimalist Donald Judd one better: yes, this is a black cube in a gallery space, but the cube is also a server with a fixed IP address, and broadcasts via its web site a continuous video stream of its empty interior. Writing of the seder, a Jewish Passover dinner, Malkin reports, 'At most seders, there is an empty table setting reserved for the prophet Elijah...who, it is said, may materialize out of the spiritual ether and join us for dinner...' Tele-Absence plays at this hinge of presence and absence; the fascination for Malkin lies in the cluster of activities that surround absence, as if any lack felt in daily existence needs to be circled with ritual. - Lewis LaCook