Ann Hirsch | David Livingston | Phil Lique | Casey McGonagle
Bayne Peterson | Janet Shih | curated by Selby Nimrod”
The internet has immutably altered the methods and speed with which we communicate with one another and receive information about our world; it has also incited profound changes to the manner in which we perceive and construct our own identities. Post-Net. Pre-Cyborg? coalesces work from a diverse group of artists, each in dialogue with a theme central to this moment in time: life post-internet.
I, Decay, a series of four YouTube vlog format videos by Ann Hirsch interrogate performances of self and sexuality in the digital age through the bifurcated perspectives of Hirsch’s character Jason Biddies, who’s “just a regular dude living in Brooklyn, trying to get by, have a nice life, meet some ladies, hang out with my bros, smoke some weed, doing my thing,” and the the artist performing as herself, “the real ann hirsch,” as her online presence is careful to emphasize. David Livingston’svideo 6 documentation of To Hunt and Be Hunted, a performance at a cat shelter, unpacks the voyeurism present in the internet’s collective fascination with “cute” animals—the self-indulgent anti-selfie. A sequence of GIFs by Phil Lique, presented in situ on a laptop, simultaneously [and self-consciously] allude to, liquify, and reconstitute pop-cultural iconography, advertisements, and internet pornography. The GIFS are in dialogue with #CONSUMER, a mixed media installation in physical space that employs similar imagistictropes. Casey McGonagle ’s video Homebirth approaches a certain banality in its absurd exaggeration ofthe selfie, while offering droll critique of the nonchalance with which personal [private?] moments in the life of an individual or family are disseminated to an audience of “friends” and the online public through social media shares. The pulsating psychedelic tapestries that form the backdrops of McGonagle’s video works draw the viewer into a cybernetic hinterland to which the artist’s body is in stark relief, creating a distinct feeling of unease. Sculptures by Bayne Peterson explore hybridity and memesis through digital mediation processes, and, in doing so, imply the posthuman. Permutations 1 and 2, transmuted 3D scans of Inches Per Hour, a sculpture Peterson based on the wheels of the Mars rover Curiosity, appear as weathered artifacts from a distant future. Pools , Janet Shih ‘s re-appropriations of commissioned selfie portraits and collaged imagery are facilitated by such internet communities as Tumblr and deviantART, and navigating the politics surrounding the ownership and distribution of those images.
The work exhibited in Post-Net. Pre-Cyborg? asks as many questions of the post-internet age as it is of its age—exposing and meditating on the increasingly permeable barriers between networks, technology objects, and the self–questioning the identities we construct and who we are becoming.