CYBORG ALARM: When Technology, Imagination and Body Collide features artwork by 2011 NYFA Fellows and Finalists. The exhibition and a panel discussion with the participating artists address the timely topic of being human in a world in which digital technology and the body are colliding and giving us new experiences, ideas and capabilities for inventing and imagining our physical and virtual identities. The artworks explore the digital persona as it transcends the human body in representational situations of the contemporary world where norms and behavior are reformulated. The discussion will also address the attributes that make art accessible to a global public in open spaces and online.
The exhibition is inspired by Marshall McLuhan’s description of how art acts as “an early alarm system” and anticipates future social and technological developments. This prompts us to reflect whether what we see in today’s art might anticipate a new reality for future generations. Has the idea of the cyborg, a fictional technologically dependent organism popularized in the 1960’s, gained new relevance as digital technologies continue to enhance our human capabilities and affect our behavior and imagination?
The artworks featured in CYBORG ALARM exemplify how art can translate these issues across time, space and cultures. Telling a story through images of the human dimension in the digital world, they could be considered “contemporary hieroglyphs.” They include:
Karolina Sobecka’s Capacity to Act in a World investigates the limits and meaning of human agency. It explores behavior within an interdependent matrix of elements, sets of norms and constructed histories. The piece exposes our capabilities for navigating and understanding the world in our overtly mediated environments.
In Dreams (2009) by Michael Greathouse is inspired by film noir and b/w Hollywood horror films and produced exclusively with composited computer animation. It depicts continual repetition of a single moment of a human portrait floating in animated waters. In Dreams addresses identity in terms of continuity and journeys through an anachronistic world with endless dimensions.
04302011 (2011) by Sophie Kahn is a collection of laser portraits of New Yorkers inspired by rotating 3-D models of people on large public screens in sci-fi movie scenes. The portraits appear incomplete and fragmented as a result of disruptions caused by the models’ movement and breathing during the scanning process, suggesting a metaphor of instability in our digitally mediated identities.
James Case-Leal’s Republic of Heaven (2010) presents a lyrical interpretation of the world in which we live. The piece illustrates a spiritual departure from the material world into “the next world” – that is fantastic and perhaps ideal – one which might be possible in the digital realm. It reflects human aspirations and a sense of endlessness, perhaps mirroring the experience in the world’s endless chain of Internet links.
Jason Bernagozzi’s The Presence of Something in its Absence (2008) illustrates a perceptual experience in a digital world. In this poetic universe, there is a sense of ‘getting lost in code’ or virtual worlds; perhaps a search for identity, perception and rhythm, covered in great expectations for the future.
Venerations (Applause) (2009) by caraballo-farman questions the dictates of logic and free will. Why does an audience produce shared emotional states and erupt in collective applause, bound beyond reason? This ritual mirrors situations of collective behavior in a manipulative, commercial, and participatory culture, which is becoming increasingly complex and opaque.
The artists: Karolina Sobecka, Michael Greathouse, Sophie Kahn, James Case-Leal, and the artist team caraballo-farman, are 2011 Artists’ Fellowship recipient of the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA). Jason Bernagozzi is a 2011 Artists’ Fellowship finalist. This presentation is cosponsored by Artists & Audiences Exchange, a public program Administered by NYFA with leadership support from the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA).”
LINK to exhibition on streamingmuseum.org.