Curated by Karen Archey and Robin Peckham, “Art Post-Internet” offers a critical examination of an inter-generational group of European and American artists for whom ubiquitous digital transmission is the norm.
Just as twentieth-century modernism was in large part determined by the relationship between craft and the emergent technologies of manufacturing, mass media, and lens-based imagery, the most pressing condition underlying contemporary culture today—from artistic practice and social theory to quotidian language—may well be the omnipresence of the internet. Though the terminology used to describe these phenomena is still nascent in development and not yet in widespread use, “Art Post-Internet” presents a broad survey of art that is controversially defined as “post-internet,” which is to say, consciously created in a milieu where the centrality of the network is assumed. The exhibition examines this moment as an inter-generational phenomenon, challenging the notion that “post-internet” artists are all tech-savvy Millennials. From the changing nature of the image to the circulation of cultural objects, from the politics of participation to new understandings of materiality, the interventions presented under this rubric attempt nothing short of the redefinition of art for the age of the internet.
The term “post-internet” refers not to a time “after” the internet, but rather to an internet state of mind, to think in the fashion of the network. In the context of artistic practice, post-internet describes an art object created with a consciousness of the networks within which it exists—from conception and production to dissemination and reception. As such, much of the work presented here employs the visual rhetoric of advertising, graphic design, stock imagery, corporate branding, visual merchandising, and commercial software tools. The exhibition considers issues related to internet policy, mass clandestine surveillance and data mining, the physicality of the network, theories surrounding posthumanism, radicalized information dispersion, and the open source movement. It looks at changes taking place in the age of the ubiquitous internet, to information dispersion, artwork documentation, human language, and approaches to art history.
Because textual information often assumes a secondary role in the social circulation of images today, including the digital milieu of the art world, many of the practices around the post-internet have not yet been sufficiently or critically introduced or interpreted; this exhibition aims to redress this imbalance by providing substantive commentary and conversation. Without such a framework for contextualizing or identifying post-internet art, there is a risk of grouping such work by voguish aesthetics alone. By contextualizing post-internet art within the disciplines of theory and art history, this exhibition hopes to elude the inevitable relegation of these new positions into a fading trend.
The exhibition includes a concerted selection of video artwork, distributed among various technological formats appropriate to the diverse contexts in which video is produced and consumed today: the cinematic experience, the screening room, the laptop, the tablet, the television. In addition to these ongoing components of the exhibition, individual screening events will drill deep into the repertoires of key participating artists to further explore the historic transformations of visual culture in the post-internet moment.
“Art Post-Internet” is curated by Karen Archey and Robin Peckham. Participating artists and collectives include AIDS-3D, Cory Arcangel, Alisa Baremboym, Bernadette Corporation, Dara Birnbaum, Juliette Bonneviot, Nicolas Ceccaldi, Simon Denny, Aleksandra Domanović, Harm van den Dorpel, GCC, Josh Kline, Oliver Laric, LuckyPDF, Tobias Madison, Marlie Mul, Katja Novitskova, Jaakko Pallasvuo, Aude Pariset, Jon Rafman, Bunny Rogers, Ben Schumacher, Calla Henkel and Max Pitegoff, Timur Si-Qin, and Artie Vierkant. The exhibition acts as an informal coda to UCCA’s 2013 exhibition “ON | OFF: China’s Young Artists in Concept and Practice,” which engaged young Chinese artists working with similar themes. The exhibition is presented in cooperation with the Goethe-Institut China.