Then They Form Us

  • 08 Aug 2015
  • 25 Oct 2015

As computers increasingly co-opt the human body during an age of ultra-connectivity, the artists in this exhibition explore the precarious status of the self during its pixelated or roboticized evolution. Their works question the ways in which identities are altered with immersion into the digital realm. They navigate the territory of online culture, where personal data, expressions, behavior, and emotions are stored and processed in often unseen or recondite behind-the-screen operations. Some of these are within our control, while others are beyond it. As a result, what new forces of identity formation, maintenance, and representation are at play?

The exhibition title, Then they form us, refers to an adage from philosopher Marshall McLuhan’s influential book, Understanding Media (1964), in which he writes on various technologies as extensions of ourselves that influence our position in and experience of the world. His prescient thinking resonates at a time when the mutation of computers into humans and vice versa is being radically innovated by the intelligence of machines and their users. In recognizing the tension between both the allure and threat of new technologies—from social media to affective computing—the artists in this exhibition address the morphing body by way of the body, using performance, video, painting, and sculpture to investigate its physical and cognitive adaptations.

Participating artists include: Xavier Cha (b. 1980, Los Angeles, CA); Constant Dullaart (b. 1979, Leiderdorp, NL); Cecile B. Evans (b. 1983, Cleveland, OH); Devin Kenny (b. 1987, Chicago, IL); Hayal Pozanti (b. 1983, Istanbul, TR); and Julien Previeux (1974, Grenoble, FR).

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