The Institute of Contemporary Art presents Myths of the Marble, a group exhibition conceived and produced in collaboration with the Henie Onstad Kunstsenter (HOK) in Norway. The exhibition, co-organized by Alex Klein, Dorothy and Stephen R. Weber (CHE'60) Curator, ICA, and Milena Hoegsberg, Senior Curator, HOK, considers how the “virtual” has been engaged by a select and varied group of contemporary artists as a way to image and imagine the world as both a site of possibility and as a set of limitations.
Although “virtual reality” might conjure associations with early cybernetic theory and computer animation, today “virtuality” permeates both physical space and online experience. At a moment when the capacity to depict the world in high definition has never been greater, reality is itself increasingly articulated as a construction. In this respect, it is essential that the “virtual” be seen not simply as an escapist technology promoted by Silicon Valley, but reclaimed as a metaphor or proposition to navigate lived sociopolitical experience.
While the exhibition troubles the line between the analog and the digital it also reflects back on the context of the museum and the body of the viewer. In so doing it suggests a more nuanced approach to technological production (be it hard, soft, or wet) that insists on materiality and the mobilization of a new political imaginary. Here, the virtual is a space of potentiality, a space in which to explore material agency and to push against, to move beyond, and to reflect back on human limitations. As a result, Myths of the Marble considers alternative forms of virtuality that meditate on extensions of the body, ecological formations, and architectural space and that emphasize the time-bound, the perceptual, and the haptic.
These ideas are explored through a wide range of mediums from painting, sculpture, and installation to video, 16mm film, and VR-technology by an international group of artists.
ICA and HOK have co-commissioned seven new works, and will also co-produce a fully illustrated catalogue published by Sternberg Press with contributions by scholars Tom Holert and Homay King.
Support for Myths of the Marble has been provided by The Inchworm Fund, the Royal Norwegian Consulate General, Dorothy & Martin Bandier, Charles X Block, Stephanie & David Simon, Brett & Daniel Sundheim, and Caroline & Daniel Werther. Additional travel support was provided by the Office for Contemporary Art Norway (OCA).