The work of Idan Hayosh disguises military imagery in simple arrangements of ordinary objects. Walking into his installations one is confronted with symmetrical displays of lamps, cutlery, gas tanks, scooters or fans, neatly spread out in wedge formations. These arrangements are not casual. They reproduce posters of military aircraft that Hayosh collected while growing up in Israel. Outlining the elegant forms of supersonic machines he turns them into abstract figures, through a reduction process that could be compared to designing 8-bit icons. As in Conway’s Game of Life, space is organized in units that have a binary status, either dead or alive. With the bird’s eye view of a god-game, Hayosh places his objects in orderly ranks, turning them into substitutes for the contemplation of power. The threat inherent in this seemingly inert material is made apparent in it’s sonic manifestations. Gas tanks gently hiss waiting for a spark to explode, scooters sound their alarms in a deafening chorus and high wattage lamps blast the visitor when triggered by motion.
The representation of warfare in art has been an issue of controversy at least since futurism. Critiques of the military-entertainment complex posit a dualism between forces of dominance and strategies for counter-action. Creating an army out of things Hayosh becomes a strategist, not of the guerrilla type, but of the confident kind that can be found both in the commanding ranks of the world’s superpowers as well as in a child’s playroom. This confidence reflects a number of conflicting assumptions: an army of objects is always obedient, but objects are also sources of alienation. The self-satisfied monologue of power displayed here is only interrupted by the occasional need to repel visitors out of the installation space.