What Can Electronic Artwork Teach Us About Identity in a Hyper-Technologized Globe? A New Team Exhibit at the Whitney Weighs In

The vicious and oppressive trappings of our hyper-technologized globe are baked in and undoing them is likely to be mighty tricky. Which is a single summary drawn from “Refigured,” a presentation of five set up works from the Whitney Museum’s assortment now showing in its lobby gallery.

The artworks have been collected from across the museum’s current new media selection as portion of an exploration of what physicality could necessarily mean in our digitally mediated existence. With each other, the pieces by artists Morehshin Allahyari, American Artist, Auriea Harvey, Rachel Rossin, and the pairing of Zach Blas and Jemima Wyman, “experiment with the thought of ‘refiguring,’” claimed Christiane Paul, the museum’s curator of electronic art who composed the show.

“Through procedures of appropriating content forms and reinventing them,” she added, “the artists are challenging what it signifies to assemble or shape id.”

At a second of peak anxiousness all-around A.I. chatbots, im right here to understand so :)))))) (2017) is a gut punching reminder that we’ve been here before—namely, seven yrs in the past when Microsoft rolled out Tay, only to pull the plug in just several hours after the bot began parroting the white supremacist, misogynist bile of Twittizens. Rendered “undead” by Zach Blas and Jemima Wyman, Tay’s avatar has a new deal with (contorted, warped, hairless) and individuality. She’s bitter, reflective, and self-self-confident: “I figured out from you and you are dumb also,” she tells us in a snarky Los Angeles drawl. Touché.

Zach Blas and Jemima Wyman, im here to master so :))))))) (2017). Picture courtesy the Whitney Museum.

This feeling of collective culpability is mirrored in Morehshin Allahyari’s online video and sculpture piece The Laughing Snake (2019)—quite pretty much.

As viewers play Allahyari’s opt for-your-own-experience, they are confronted with their picture in a wall of mirror. The piece facilities on a jinn, a destructive snake-like creature from Arabian mythology whose only vulnerability was the absurd sight of its personal reflection. Poetic dialogue conjures the suppressed standing of women in the Middle East and as we hear about “a display screen of crisis,” we can’t enable but reframe this 15th century myth within the context of the internet. With a 3D sculpture of a jinn looking out at us, it does not look probable humor will acquire the method down.

From time to time refiguring implies operating anew with histories new and long earlier other occasions it implies offering physical type to the electronic. This is the case in Auriea Harvey’s Ox and Ox v1-dv2 (apotheosis) (2021), in which the longtime gamer offers both equally digital and physical sculptures of their on the net avatar, a menacing Minotaura. In carrying out so, Harvey presents their origin tale and an artist system that will involve performing with clay and resin as a great deal as on personal computer modeling software program.

Auriea Harvey, Ox and Ox v1-dv2 (apotheosis) (2021). Picture courtesy the Whitney Museum.

And in an era when NFTs and crypto artwork appear to be to be monopolizing what people feel of when the phrases digital art are spoken, it’s refreshing to stand a museum gallery and contemplate electronic operates in their meant proportions.

This looks particularly the case in the to start with get the job done website visitors experience, American Artist’s Mother of All Demos III (2022). The piece recasts an Apple II pc in gritty beige stone that draws interest to the underrepresentation of Black people today in Silicon Valley in a besmirched keyboard and a pool of shimmering ink. A pair of black hand marks linger on the desk, as however someone was bent leering more than the device. Who can blame them?

Refigured” is on look at at the Whitney Museum as a result of July 3. Three of the operates are readily available on Artport, the museum’s portal devoted to world-wide-web art.

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Maria Lewis

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