A bureaucracy's stamp of approval
By Michael O'Sullivan
Friday, Jan. 20, 2012
For the run of his exhibition at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Ali Kazma has transformed the museum's Black Box theater into a shrine to repetitive-stress injury.
The Turkish artist's bizarrely mesmerizing video installation -- which plays in a continuous loop on seven screens -- features footage of a notary public rubber-stamping stacks of documents at a pace so superhuman it will make your carpal tunnel ache.
Called O.K., Kazma's multi-channel work documents a simple if wrist-numbingly repetitive action: the stamping of corporate documents with a government seal. According to the artist, Turkish law requires that all of a company's official filings and accounting paperwork be stamped by hand with an inked rubber stamp, authenticating that they have been received by the proper authorities.