Selfies and Second Life Place Identity at the Fore of ICA Miami’s Exhibition of Internet Art
In our climate of proliferating technologies and digital selves, the question of identity is, perhaps, the most salient. How do we conceive of ourselves and others? Are we ever more connected or ever more alienated? These are the issues—urgent and often moving—that surface while sorting through the strong selection of web-based works destined for an exhibition at ICA Miami this week. They are the 10 finalists chosen from 270 submissions to the institution’s open call for art whose medium is the internet.
Two decades on from the emergence of
Despite the international pool, the majority of artists in the show hail from New York and Miami. From the latter contingent,
Another artist who channels the masses through a live system,
Other contributions explore ideas of fantasy and the narcotic effects of images.
What many of these works have in common is a quality that feels intensely, paradoxically human—all the more so for their presence in a realm that is so saturated with corporate communications and advertising (a subject that UBERMORGAN’s contribution to the show, Ziron (2014), directly addresses). So what can artworks that are native to the public domain gain from display in a museum, aside from providing a more physically immersive encounter? For
For Mayer, it’s about context, but also increased exposure. “I think for many of us working in this medium it’s not about money or limited editions,” she says. “When you’re working on a platform like the web, you’re hoping for more eyes. This project works for me in a museum or in any other cultural sphere. It could also do well in a mall. Since this is a product of us—I want to say ‘us’ since everyone, whether they know it or not, is participating—it should be given as much exposure or platform as possible.”
For Gartenfeld, too, the works (and the strategy of issuing an open call) open up the museum space to larger audiences. “I think it’s an incredibly relatable body of material for people—perhaps less specialized even than some traditional media,” he says. “In terms of what the institution brings, digital art for the last 20 years has primarily existed outside of the institution, although certainly it’s been archived and analyzed through publishing formats like Rhizome. So as media becomes incorporated into institutions certainly a whole slew of really interesting issue of scholarship and conservation arise. Those are issues that museum professionals will be dealing with for decades to come.”
Tess Thackara is Artsy’s Writer-at-Large.
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