Featuring: Neïl Beloufa, Mosireen Collective, David Raymond Conroy, Aleksandra Domanovic, S. Mark Gubb, Raphael Hefti, Jill Magid, Shana Moulton, Hito Steyerl, Jack Strange.
2013 marks the 20th anniversary of Curating Contemporary Art exhibitions at the RCA. This year’s graduating students present No one lives here, an exhibition by international artists exploring aspects of the digital age that permeate contemporary life, from the domestic to the political.
The over saturation and remediation of images, through social media, open source databanks and citizen journalism, has contextually altered the individual and social rules of engagement. Bringing together sculpture, installation, moving image and performance, No one lives here, will look at the contradictions and paradoxes of living in the digital age.
The title of the exhibition is derived from Indian theorist and philosopher Gayatri Spivak’s concept of ‘planetarity’ from her book Death of a Discipline (2005). Her assertion that “the globe is on our computers. No one lives there”, frames the exhibition thematic of a virtual environment that is uninhabitable yet populated.
In White Mountain, the exhibition’s supporting research display, the Pionen White Mountain Data Centre is presented as an architectural case study. The Centre is a subterranean databank located near Stockholm, Sweden. Housing the Wiki-Leaks servers among others, Pionen epitomises the layers of access and secrecy synonymous with virtuality. The display presents a range of archival material, architectural plans and images that consider the development of the Pionen Data Centre as a metaphor for the contemporary condition of digital cultural flow.
Among the works featured is the UK debut of Hito Steyerl’s film Strike (2010) that shows the artist’s calculated assault on a flat screen monitor. Direct from his solo exhibition at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris, Neil Beloufa will present a new sculptural and video installation ‘Nice seats and projection’ People's passion, lifestyle, beautiful wine, gigantic glass towers, all surrounded by water (2013, video 2011). The video portrays aspirational North American lifestyle and its artifice in the genre of promotional video projected onto the transparent layers of the installation. Mosireen Collective is a non-profit media organisation born out of the explosion of citizen journalism and cultural activism during the Egyptian revolution. Based in downtown Cairo, the channel is the most watched non-profit youtube channel in Egypt. ‘Mosireen’ is a play on the Arabic words of ‘Egypt’ and ‘determination’. The Collective provides training, equipment and technical facilities and organise free screenings, discussions and events.
Combining surreal video installations with live performance, Shana Moulton’s Restless Leg Saga (2012) reflects upon the permeation of digital culture into the domestic setting. Jill Magid’s Legoland (2000) shows footage from a surveillance camera strapped to her foot as she walks around New York City. Between Magid’s legs, the observer can view the cityscape from a different perspective, drawing attention to the positioning of the gendered body within an image-based society.
Aleksandra Domanovic’s practice is concerned with the circulation and reception of images and information. For her contribution to No one lives here, she will exhibit new sculptural works Untitled (Mash up) (2013) and ongoing video work 19:30 (2010-). David Raymond Conroy’s practice embodies the process of virtual browsing and is suggestive of networked choice patterns. His work I’d be Lying if I Said I Didn’t Have Designs on You (2010) presents a flattened image of a totemic structure composed of disparate found objects. The artist’s precise criteria in choosing these objects is indicative of the prosumer’s engagement with digital culture when forming an identity through social media constructs such as Facebook.
S Mark Gubb’s video loop Drowning Dog (2012) offers a moment of acute contemplation of the paradoxes of web imagery. It is a remediation of the appropriated news footage of a heroic event between two dogs on a highway in Chile.
London-based artist Jack Strange’s work ‘g’ (2008) playfully draws on the limitations of the physical and virtual realms; a lead ball is placed on the ‘g’ key of a laptop computer producing infinite characters on a screen and eventually crashing the laptop’s system. This work is in the MoMA collection. Raphael Hefti’s glass sculptural works from the series Subtraction as Addition (2012), recently shown at Camden Arts Centre, investigate contemporary experiences of viewing through an iridescent colour palette produced in dialogue with a digital aesthetic.
A printed publication will accompany the exhibition as well as these free events:
8 March, 5.30 – 8pm: 'The Globe is On Our Computers' Lecture Theatre One Writer and curator Omar Kholeif and Katrina Sluis, Curator of Digital Programmes at the Photographers’ Gallery, London, will be in conversation with artists David Raymond Conroy and Aleksandra Domanovic among others, followed by a film screening and roundtable discussion.
13 March, 7.30pm: Performance Event A performance entitled 'The Line Where Your Appearance Flips Over into Reality' by Shana Moulton and a presentation derived from 'My Skin is at War with the World of Data' by artists Kate Cooper, Marianne Forrest, Andrew Kerton and Jess Wiesner, produced by Auto Italia.
Events are free, email booking required: email@example.com
The MA Curating Contemporary Art Programme was established in 1992 with support from Arts Council England and is widely acknowledged as an important marker of current developments in contemporary art. The annual CCA graduate show in the RCA galleries has become known for experimental approaches to working with artists, and for introducing new international artists to UK audiences.
Royal College of Art Galleries Kensington Gore London SW7 2EU T: +44 (0)207 590 4444