Review: Thomas Ankersmit – Figueroa Terrace

Thomas Ankersmit - Figueroa TerraceAnkersmit’s circuitry is half-broken, covered in moss and sap. Figueroa Terrace does not seek completion and digital assurance within the electronic; rather, it fractures via the haphazard rustles and splinters of nature, taking sudden deviations away from its closed loops into the crackle of dehydrated leaves, gasps of gravel feedback and gentle leaks of white noise gas. Even when its motion feels as eternal and rigid as a newton’s cradle – as in the dark orbs of bass frequency that veer from left to right and back again – the wires feel ready to perish. Sure enough, Figueroa Terrace always seems to spill out of its cycle and into the canvas of infinite happening.

The synaesthesia is thick and dizzying. Those chiming strands of high frequency feel influenced by the diagonal drift of deep space lens flare, while the tilted formation of rapid fire beeps and ventilator drones makes me feel physically queasy, sending the blood rushing to the left side of my head and placing my brain at an uncomfortable angle. During the second half I feel as though I’m hurtling through hoops of light between rooms of drastically contrasting shape and colour, as reverse rushes of warm air punctuate sudden environmental shifts; I’m blacking out for hours at a time, knocked out by cyclonic uprisings of wind and warning siren only to awake in a room with just one dangling light bulb, or on a runway full of swooping bats. There’s a sense of being carried backward through Figueroa Terrace, tugged along a narrative that feels so expertly under Ankersmit’s control and so unnervingly beyond my own.