Technology tie-down

Abbas Akhavan’s Correspondences explores the danger modern technology poses to relationships

One half of the exhibit is a glass case containing a photo of smoke signals, a message in a bottle and a dead pigeon tied to a brick.
One half of the exhibit is a glass case containing a photo of smoke signals, a message in a bottle and a dead pigeon tied to a brick.
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A stuffed pigeon tied to a brick, a message in a bottle and a photograph of smoke signals are the only items in Abbas Akhavan’s Correspondences, on display at Modern Fuel.

The dead pigeon is a morbid, yet effective, allegory for modern communication’s effect on relationships before phones, internet or Twitter even existed.

“Communication can also be the means of destruction and annihilation,” Akhavan says in his artist statement.

The bird, the bottle and the photo are half of the exhibit. A TV screen with a video on loop is at the opposite side of the expansive white gallery.

The scene on the screen is a hectic street with people running to see a firework display. When they arrive, the noise is so loud it’s like bombs. You want to flee the gallery.

Thankfully the noise subsides.

But with the silence comes confusion. The sounds of bombs seem to hit at the destructive capabilities of modern communication, but there’s no clear message.

Akhavan produced Correspondences during a one-month residency as a working artist at Stratagem Pacific Consulting in 2006. The conflict resolution firm in Vancouver commissioned the piece to be displayed in their offices.

This exhibit attempts to awaken an over-connected generation to the dangers of modern technology. But the result is weak. The gallery looks sparse, like something was forgotten, and the lack of explanation leaves the viewer floundering.

Correspondences is at Modern Fuel until Oct. 29.

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