Maarten Vanden Eynde

Pinpointing Progress

Various items (Bus: RAF-251, car: RAF-2203 Latvija, moped: Riga-3, bicycle: Erenpreis, radio/record player: VEF-65, portable radio: Spidola-232, telephone: TA-60, camera: Minox-35, transistor: 725-HM) spiked on a metal needle.
720 x 240 x 975 cm

Progress is the act of moving forward, with the build in preconception that it is for the better. As such it is predominantly used to sugarcoat evolution, the step-sibling of progress. Evolution happens any way, with or without our interference or even our presence. It is the inescapable force of the fabulous future. Progress is the promise that evolution is a good thing, and should therefore be encouraged, stimulated and even speeded up. Bigger better, smaller stronger. VariousNew inventions follow after each other with increasing speed, mostly shrinking in size in sublime synchronicity. Nano-technology is the new Holy Grail, allowing magical manipulation on a micro scale with imputable implications on a macro scale. Invisible to the human(oid) eye, believing became more important than seeing. Thus information replaced matter as the most valuable resource in capitalist society. It is the key to kingdom of capital and the capital of the kingdom.

Pinpointing Progress stacks all the modern technological wonders that were produced in Riga and exported throughout the USSR, or even beyond. Following both size and usually production date, the objects become smaller and smaller, visualising the speed of evolution. A bus, car, moped, bike, computer, radio, telephone, camera and a transistor are pinned on a needle, like insects in a museum. Only the smallest item, the transistor, is currently still being made in Riga. The rest is part of history.

Pinpointing Progress is also a subtle homage to the Town Musicians of Bremen, the iconic sculpture based on the story of the Brothers Grimm, in which ill treated and discarded animals group together to find freedom. The installation is a silent monument for both local production history and the speed of industrialised evolution. It preserves the most vital specimens of progress on a spike, saving them for future generations. Or like the donkey said in the story: ‘Something better than death we can find anywhere’.