Artsy Projects: Armory

Soraya Haas
Feb 24, 2016 8:54PM

Douglas Coupland mounts an interactive installation at The Armory Show in collaboration with Artsy as part of Artsy Projects: Armory

-Coupland’s altered photobooth will produce “de-recognition” portraits of participants; a series of limited edition totes featuring selections from his series Slogans for the 21st Century will be available at the Artsy booth at the entrance of Pier 94

Douglas Coupland, the novelist, visual artist, and cultural theorist whose practice synthesizes high and low culture, web technology, and changes in human existence caused by modern technologies will debut a collaboration with Artsy at The Armory Show, on view March 2-6, 2016. Curated by Artsy’s Elena Soboleva, the installation is part of #ArtsyProjects, an ongoing series of public activations in which Artsy invites contemporary artists to reimagine art world spaces.

Coupland has created a new series of art fair-inspired Slogans for the 21st Century, which will cover the walls of Artsy’s booth in a dense grid. Coupland’s Slogans, which the artist has been generating since 2011, aim to compress and condense the lived experience of the world as it is exists today. In Coupland’s words, the slogans are “written in the voice of the culture at large and their aim is to articulate sensations or perceptions about the new information environment.” Phrases such as “Shiny but deep” and “I miss my pre-internet brain” engage critically with digital culture, the dynamics of the art world, and the role that the Internet has played in altering our daily lives. As an extension of Coupland’s installation, the artist has created a series of seven limited edition tote bags, printed with a selection of new Slogans, which will be available at Artsy’s booth.

The installation will also feature Deep Face: Communicate with your future self, a project that will produce “de-recognition” photobooth portraits of visitors, engaging with the artist’s longstanding interest in how identity is expressed in contemporary society. In an age of increasingly sophisticated facial-recognition technologies (such as Facebook’s “DeepFace” program), Coupland asks “how much disinformation is needed to throw off facial recognition bots scouring the online universe?” Visitors will stand in a traditional photobooth though the resulting portraits will be overlaid and obscured with multicolored barcodes, provoking dialogue on the commodification and digitization of the art world, as well as the conflation of our identities with online data. After having their portraits taken participants will receive a four-frame GIF by email, ready to be shared on social media using the hashtag #ArtsyProjectsArmory.

As Soboleva notes, “Douglas Coupland’s project asks participants to consider how they shape—and how they often lose control of—their online identities at the time when social media has infiltrated nearly every aspect of contemporary life. As our online lives are so important to us he makes us pause and question how we design our digital selves.”

Artsy Projects: Armory is one component of Artsy and The Armory Show's ongoing partnership, now in its fourth consecutive year. As the online partner of The Armory Show 2016, Artsy offers opportunities to explore and enjoy the fair both onsite and online. Visitors can use the preview to browse exhibitor booths, place sales inquiries on available artworks, and begin to plan their visit to the Piers.

Social media hashtag: #ArtsyProjectsArmory


Douglas Coupland is a cultural philosopher, visual artist and novelist. His first novel in 1991 was Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture. Since then, has published twelve novels, seven nonfiction books, and is the contributing editor of VICE Magazine and regular columnist for Financial Times. Coupland’s art practice synthesizes high and low culture, web technology, religion, and changes in human existence caused by modern technologies. Douglas will be included in “Electronic Superhighway” at Whitechapel which examines internet culture in art and he recently opened a solo exhibition at Witte de With, Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam, NL. In early 2015, he was selected as the artist in residence at the Google Cultural Institute in Paris. Coupland’s art theory has developed in parallel with his own practice and he recently co-authored The Age of Earthquakes: A Guide to the Extreme Present with Hans Ulrich Obrist, and contributed an essay to #artselfie with DIS collective and Simon Castets. Coupland has shown internationally including at Centro Cultural Banco do Brazil Sao Paulo; FLAG Foundation in New York; Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver; The 6th Beijing International Art Biennale, Beijing, China (forthcoming); La Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris; The Miyake Issey; Foundation, Tokyo; Serpentine Gallery, London, UK.

Douglas Coupland shows with Daniel Faria Gallery, which will be exhibiting at the Armory 2016.

Soraya Haas