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Maryam Jafri
Exhibition "Techno Worlds"

Maryam Jafri  - Model 500 (2019) Photo by Günter Kresser; Courtesy the artist

Model 500

Model 500 (2019) is a metal and vinyl sculpture focusing on music and politics, specifically on Detroit Techno. The installation is configured as a 10 x 10 grid in the guise of an American crossword puzzle. However, the black squares typical of a crossword puzzle are here replaced with vintage 1980s Detroit Techno LPs mounted on the metal plates. The puzzle is made up of 100 metal plates (325 x 325 cm each) strung together like a net. 

In the early 1990s, techno quickly gained popularity in the Europe before being reimported back into the US as “European dance music.” The African-American, Detroit–based origins of techno are often overlooked. As noted by Ben Tausig, the music and the culture of techno reflect an elaborate artistic and technological response to the transition from industrial to post-industrial world, as well as an innovative approach to the possibilities of modern machine technologies and their application to music. The artwork resembles a minimalist sculpture, an LP display structure, and a metal fence or urban barrier but more than that, it is also functional - it is an actual solvable crossword puzzle, created in collaboration with the crossword puzzle constructor and music historian Ben Tausig. The clues are written in black vinyl directly onto the wall nearby.
Maryam Jafri  - Model 500 (2019) Photo by Günter Kresser; Courtesy the artist A take away of the puzzle is available to visitors who wish to solve the puzzle. Answers are available upon request. The title for the work refers to the name used by Techno pioneer Juan Atkins which in turn is of course a riff on Ford’s Model-T.


Maryam Jafri is an artist working across media and genres - video, sculpture, photography, and performance. Her practice is decidedly research-based and interdisciplinary. When delving into a particular topic, she often examines its historical, political and economic implications, as well as how it is represented in popular visual culture. Her works borrow aesthetically from scenography and pop art, while the issues they raise often concern the insidious relationship between capital and self-optimization. She holds a BA in English & American Literature from Brown University, an MA from NYU/Tisch School of The Arts and is a graduate of the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program.