In this exhibition, nine artists and art collectives employ technology for self-expression and self-fashioning. In making visible both the restrictions and the freedoms of digital culture, they explore how identities and histories are created, transformed, or invented. For some, technology is a means to an end: a memoir, a fictional history, an intimate view of a person’s life. Others interrogate the power relations of these same tools, from virtual gaming and ‘big data’ consumer portraits to facial recognition software. The artists appropriate technologies to narrate, alter, augment, or invent their identities and histories. The idea of individual context, of experiential relativity, threads together the works in this exhibition, and structures its form and its content. The visitor is invited to travel a branching, non-linear, virtual path through works by artists who explore the transformation of individual identity that digital tools and internet connectivity have co-produced in our lives.
Curated by Heather Dewey-Hagborg and Maya Allison
About the Guest-Curator
Dr. Heather Dewey-Hagborg is an artist and biohacker who is interested in art as research and technological critique. Her controversial biopolitical art practice includes the project Stranger Visions in which she created portrait sculptures from analyses of genetic material (hair, cigarette butts, chewed up gum) collected in public places.
Heather has shown work internationally at events and venues including the Walker Center for Contemporary Art (Minneapolis, MN, USA, 2020); the Philadelphia Museum of Art (Philadelphia, PA, USA, 2019); the Daejeon Biennale (Daejeon, South Korea, 2018); the Guangzhou Triennial (Guangzhou, China, 2018); the World Economic Forum (Davos, Switzerland, 2015); the Shenzhen Urbanism and Architecture Biennale (Shenzhen, China, 2015); Transmediale (Berlin, Germany, 2015); and PS1 MOMA (New York, NY, 2011). Her work is held in public collections of the Centre Pompidou (Paris, France); the Victoria and Albert Museum (London, UK); the Wellcome Collection (London, UK); the Exploratorium (San Francisco, CA, USA); and the New York Historical Society (New York, NY, USA); among others, and has been widely discussed in the media, from the New York Times and the BBC to Art Forum and Wired.
Heather has a PhD in Electronic Arts from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She is Visiting Assistant Professor of Interactive Media at NYU Abu Dhabi, an artist fellow at AI Now, an Artist-in-Residence at the Exploratorium, and is an affiliate of Data & Society.
She is also a co-founder and co-curator of REFRESH, an inclusive and politically engaged collaborative platform at the intersection of Art, Science, and Technology. She curated the exhibition Refiguring the Future in 2019 together with collaborator Dorothy Santos at Hunter College Art Gallery in New York.
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Virtual Opening Reception: Wednesday, January 20th, 6:30pm GMT+4 | 9:30am EST
Arts Chat: Producing Creative Work During Times of Crisis, Monday, February 22, 6:30pm GMT+4 | 9:30am EST
Arts Chat: Sustaining Creativity During the Pandemic, Monday, March 22, 6:30pm GMT+4 | 9:30am EST
Discussion: The Histories We Create, Wednesday, April 27, 9:00pm GMT+4 | 1:00pm EST
Arts Chat: Building a Life as an Artist in the UAE, Sunday, April 18, 12noon GMT+4
In her work, Addie Wagenknecht (b. 1981, Portland, OR, US) explores the tension between expression and technology.Read more
Blending conceptually-driven painting, sculpture, and installation with the ethos of hacker culture, Wagenknecht constructs spaces between art, object, and lived experience.
A member of the Free Art and Technology (F.A.T.) Lab, Wagenknecht was the recipient of a Warhol Foundation Grant (New York, NY, US, 2014), which she used to found Deep Lab, a collaborative group of researchers, artists, writers, engineers, and cultural producers interested in privacy, surveillance, code, art, social hacking, and anonymity. As an active leader in the open source hardware movement, she also co-founded NORTD Labs, an international research and development collaborative with Stefan Hechenberger, which produces open source projects that have been used by millions worldwide.
Wagenknecht’s solo exhibitions include DAM Projects (Berlin, Germany, 2020); the Reflector Gallery (Bern, Switzerland, 2018); Haus der Elektronischen Künste (Basel, Switzerland, 2016); MU (Eindhoven, The Netherlands, 2016); Singapore Art Museum (Singapore, 2016); and Bitforms Gallery (New York, NY, US, 2014). Her work has been exhibited in group exhibitions internationally, most recently including 24/7, The Somerset House (London, UK, 2019-2020); The Situation Room, Museum of Moving Image (New York, NY, US, 2020); Topologies of the Real, inaugural CAFAM Techne Triennial, CAFA Art Museum (Beijing, China, 2020); Embedded Parables, Bitforms Gallery (New York, NY, US, 2019); NEoN Digital Arts Festival, Abertay University (Dundee, Scotland, 2019); Technocare, Kunstraum Niederösterreich, (Vienna, Austria, 2019); Behind the Screen, KINDL Center for Contemporary Art (Berlin, Germany, 2019); Data Dating, Watermans Art Center (London, UK, 2019); Brave New Virtues, Austrian Museum of Applied Arts (Vienna, Austria, 2019); Extract, Bitforms Gallery (Los Angeles, CA, US, 2019); As We May Think: Feedforward, 6th Guangzhou Triennial, Guangdong Museum of Art (Guangzhou, China, 2019); POSTCENTRAL, Nome Gallery (Berlin, Germany, 2019); Spot On. Toilettengeschichten, Alte Fabrik Rapperswil (Rapperswil, Switzerland, 2019); and NEMO Biennale (Île-de-France, France, 2019).
Her work is in the collections of Google, Inc. (New York, NY, US); Reinhard Storz (Basel, Switzerland); Thierry Tilquin (Brussels, Belgium); Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography (Tokyo, Japan); and the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, NY, US).
Cao Fei (b. 1978, Guangzhou, China) is one of the most innovative Chinese artists to have emerged on the international scene.Read more
Currently living in Beijing, she mixes social commentary, popular aesthetics, references to Surrealism, and documentary conventions in her films and installations. Her works reflect on the rapid and chaotic changes that are occurring in Chinese society today.
Cao Fei’s works have been exhibited at a number of international biennales and triennales, including Shanghai Biennale (Shanghai, China, 2004); Moscow Biennale (Moscow, Russia, 2005); Taipei Biennale (Taipei, Taiwan, 2006); the 15th & 17th Biennale of Sydney (Sydney, Australia, 2006, 2010); Istanbul Biennial (Istanbul, Turkey, 2007); Yokohama Triennale (Yokohama, Japan, 2008); and the 50th, 52nd & 56th Venice Biennale (Venice, Italy, 2003, 2007, 2015). Exhibitions and screenings of her work have taken place at Serpentine Gallery (London, UK, 2006, 2008); Tate Modern (London, UK, 2002, 2013, 2014); New Museum (New York, NY, US, 2009); Guggenheim Museum ( New York, NY, US, 2011, 2018); MoMA ( New York, NY, US, 2015, 2016); Fondation Louis Vuitton (Paris, France, 2016); Palais de Tokyo (Paris, France, 2005, 2017); and Centre Pompidou ( Paris, France, 2003, 2004, 2019). In 2016, Cao Fei held her first solo exhibition in MoMA PS1 (New York, NY, US, 2016). In 2017, she became the first Chinese artist to receive the BMW Art Car Project. Cao Fei’s recent projects include the Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Chinese Art Initiative at Guggenheim Museum (New York, NY, US, 2018), a retrospective at K21 Düsseldorf (Düsseldorf , Germany, 2018), and a solo exhibition at Centre Pompidou, (Paris, France, 2019), an Augmented Reality Art Project by APPLE and New Museum (New York, NY, US, 2019). Her most recent project is a solo exhibition at Serpentine Gallery (London, UK, 2020). In 2021, Cao Fei will have her first major retrospective in mainland China at UCCA Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing, and a solo exhibition at MAXXI in Rome.
She was a nominee for the finalist of Hugo Boss Prize (New York, NY, US, 2010) and the Future Generation Art Prize (Kyiv, Ukraine, 2010). She received the Chinese Contemporary Art Award (CCAA) Best Young Artist Award and Best Artist Award in (Beijing, China, 2016). She was also the recipient of Piedra de Sal Award at Cuenca Biennale (Cuenca, Ecuador, 2016). Cao Fei was the Jury of The Selection Committee for the Curatorship of the 8th Berlin Biennale (Berlin, Germany, 2014), the Jury of The Bonnefanten Award for Contemporary (Maastricht, the Netherlands, 2016), and the Jury of Hugo Boss Asia Art Prize (Shanghai, China, 2019). She was also the nominator of the Rolls-Royce Art Programme Muse (Goodwood, England, 2019).
Through their work, Eva & Franco Mattes (b. 1976, Brescia, Italy) analyze and respond to contemporary digital life, approaching its ethics and politics with dark humor.Read more
The artist duo received numerous awards including the Whitney Museum’s Artport Commission (New York, NY, US, 2018); the NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellow at the New York Foundation for the Arts (New York, NY, US, 2017); the Prix Net Art at the Rhizome and Chronus Art Center (New York, NY, US, 2017); and the Creative Capital Award (2016).
They are preparing for their first museum solo, Dear Imaginary Audience, Fotomuseum Winterthur (Zurich, CH). Their work has been featured in several solo exhibitions internationally, including Phi Foundation for Contemporary Art (Montreal, Canada, 2020); Team Gallery (Los Angeles, CA, US, 2019); Carroll / Fletcher Gallery (London, UK, 2016); Essex Flowers Gallery (New York, NY, US, 2015); and Postmasters Gallery, (New York, NY, US, 2010). Among their group exhibitions are Art in the Age of Anxiety, Sharjah Art Foundation (Sharjah, UAE, 2020); Playmode, MAAT (Lisbon, Portugal, 2020); Snap + Share, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (San Francisco, CA, US, 2019); ANTI, 6th Athens Biennale (Athens, Greece, 2018); Catastrophe and the Power of Art, Mori Art Museum (Tokyo, Japan, 2018); I Was Raised on the Internet, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (Chicago, IL, US, 2018); Biennale für Aktuelle Fotografie, Raum für Gegenwartskunst (Mannheim, Germany, 2017); 20th Biennale of Sydney (Sydney, Australia, 2016); and Artists’ Film International, Whitechapel Gallery (London, UK, 2016).
Their work can be found in the collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (San Francisco, CA, US); Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, NY, US); Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, MN, US); and X Museum (Beijing, CN); among others.
Eva & Franco Mattes live and work in New York.
Lee Blalock (b. 1972, Chester, PA, USA) presents alternative and hyphenated states of being through technology-mediated processes.Read more
Interested in how technologies support the idea of impossible anatomies, behaviors and performances, her work is an exercise in body modification by way of amplified behavior or “change-of-state”. Lee also works under the moniker of L3^2, whose most recent live work embraces noise and fissure as a natural state of being for bodies living in hybrid states.
Blalock has exhibited her work in major institutions including Ars Electronica (In Kepler’s Gardens, online, 2020); Hudson Gallery (New York, NY, US, 2019); Experimental Sound Studio (Chicago, IL, US, 2019); Institute of Contemporary Art (Philadelphia, PA, US, 2018); Elastic Arts (Chicago, IL, US, 2018); Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago, IL, US, 2017); Hyde Park Art Center (Chicago, IL, US, 2016); Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (Chicago, IL, US, 2014); Art Gallery of Mississauga (Mississauga, Canada, 2013); Leitmotif/Nuit Blanche (Toronto, Canada, 2011); Chicago Public Access Television (Chicago, IL, US, 2011); Kepco and Gallery Dot (Ulsan, South Korea, 2011); Le Flash!/Nuit Blanche (Atlanta, GA, US, 2008, 2009); Baldwin Burroughs Theatre (Atlanta, GA, US, 2008); Woodruff Arts Center (Atlanta, GA, US, 2008).
Blalock lives in Chicago, and works as Assistant Professor at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the Art and Technology Studies Department.
Maryam Al Hamra (b. 1988, AlHamra) is Director and Head Researcher of the AlHamra National Museum, AlHamra, as well as a scholar on the history of the AlHamra civilization.Read more
During her early career, Maryam’s research centered around the artifacts and the influential history that the AlHamra civilization had on neighboring civilizations. However, ever since it has been theorized that the Ruby gem had significantly accelerated the AlHamra civilization’s power, her focus has recently shifted towards the powers of the Ruby gem and its important role in the Al Hamra family’s rise to power.
Originally built as a castle for the AlHamra tribes, the AlHamra National Museum holds the world’s largest collection dedicated to the AlHamra civilization, holding over 3800 artifacts that date back to Prehistoric times and as recent as the 21st century. The exhibition, AlHamra National Museum: The Queens and History of AlHamra Civilization, is curated by Maryam, and the objects displayed in this exhibition are on loan from the AlHamra National Museum. The curatorial narrative highlights the civilization’s three most significant eras: The Renaissance era, The Golden era, and The Ruby period.
Maryam lives and works in AlHamra.
micha cárdenas (b. 1977, Miami, FL, US), PhD, is Assistant Professor of Art & Design: Games + Playable Media, and Critical Race and Ethnic Studies, at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she directs the Critical Realities Studio.Read more
cárdenas is writing a new algorithm for gender, race and technology. Her book Poetic Operations, forthcoming from Duke University Press, proposes algorithmic analysis as a method for developing a trans of color poetics. cárdenas’s co-authored books The Transreal: Political Aesthetics of Crossing Realities (2012) and Trans Desire / Affective Cyborgs (2010) were published by Atropos Press. She is a member of the artist collective Electronic Disturbance Theater 2.0. Her artwork has been described as “a seminal milestone for artistic engagement in VR” by the Spike art journal in Berlin. She is a first generation Colombian American.
cárdenas is an artist/theorist who was the winner of the Creative Award from the Gender Justice League (Seattle, WA, US, 2016). She was the recipient of the inaugural James Tiptree Jr. fellowship (Santa Cruz, CA, US, 2014); a fellowship to provide support and recognition for the new voices in science fiction who are making visible the forces that are changing our view of gender today. She has been described as one of “7 bio-artists who are transforming the fabric of life itself” by io9.com.
Cárdenas completed her Ph.D. in Media Arts + Practice in the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California. Her solo and collaborative artworks have been presented in museums, galleries, and biennials including the Stamps Gallery (Ann Arbor, MI, US, 2020); Thessaloniki Biennial (Thessaloniki, Greece, 2019); Arnolfini Gallery (Bristol, UK, 2019); De La Warr Pavilion (Bexhill-on-Sea, UK, 2019); Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (Chicago, IL, US, 2018); House of Electronic Arts Basel (Münchenstein, Switzerland, 2018); Zeppelin Museum Friedrichshafen (Friedrichshafen, Germany, 2018); Henry Art Gallery (Seattle, WA, US, 2017); the Museum of Modern Art, New York (New York, NY, US, 2015); ZKM Center for Art and Media (Karlsruhe, Germany, 2014); Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (Los Angeles, CA, US, 2011); Centro Cultural del Bosque (Mexico City, Mexico, 2015); CECUT, Centro Cultural Tijuana, Mexico (Tijuana, Mexico, 2009); the Zero1 Biennial (San Jose, CA, US, 2012); and the California Biennial (Newport Beach, CA, US, 2010). She has given keynote talks at the Allied Media Conference, the Association of Internet Researchers, the Digital Gender Conference at Umea University in Sweden, the Dark Side of the Digital Conference, and the Vera List Center at the New School in New York. She is on the advisory boards of FemTechNet and the York University Center for Feminist Research.
Ramin Haerizadeh (b. 1975, Tehran, Iran), Rokni Haerizadeh (b. 1978, Tehran, Iran), and Hesam Rahmanian (b. 1980, Knoxville, TN, US) work independently and together, propagating a form of collaboration that doesn’t suppress individualism.Read more
The seeds of their language were sown as early as 1999, back in Iran. Their practice offers up a novel redefinition of the collective, as theirs is constantly growing and contracting to incorporate friends, writers, and artists at large. Their individual practices differ stylistically while political and social commentary become inherently subversive in a common reflection. The exhibitions they conceive are as much insights into their daily practice, which they designate as the ritual of living and working together.
The collective has presented solo exhibitions at Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt (Frankfurt, Germany, 2020); Frye Art Museum (Seattle, WA, US, 2019); Officine Grandi Riparazioni (OGR) (Turin, Italy, 2018); MACBA (Barcelona, Spain, 2017); Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) (Boston, MA, US, 2015); Kunsthalle Zürich (Zürich, Switzerland, 2015) and Den Frie Centre of Contemporary Art (Copenhagen, Denmark, 2015). They have participated in group exhibitions such as I Prefer Talking to Doctors About Something Else, 22nd Biennale of Sydney, The Powerhouse Museum and Campbelltown Arts Centre (Sydney, Australia, 2020); the inaugural Toronto Biennial of Art (Toronto, Canada, 2019); Homeless Souls, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art (Humlebaek, Denmark, 2019), which won the 6th Global Fine Art Award in the Global Humanity category; and The Warmth of Other Suns, the Phillips Collection in Partnership with the New Museum (Washington DC, US, 2019); The Creative Act: Performance, Process, Presence, Manarat Al Saadiyat (Abu Dhabi, UAE, 2017); the 9th Liverpool Biennial (Liverpool, UK, 2016); and 8th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, Queensland Gallery (Brisbane, Australia, 2015). In 2019, they curated BEYOND: EMERGING ARTISTS with Ayesha Hadhir, Shaikha Al Ketbi and Rawdha Al Ketbi in a show entitled Neither Visible, Nor Concealed in Manarat Al Saadiyat (Abu Dhabi, UAE, 2019).
The artist trio received the Fundació Han Nefkens/MACBA Award (Barcelona, Spain, 2015).
Their works are held in the collections of The Städel Museum (Frankfurt, Germany); Le Centre National des Arts Plastiques (Paris, France); Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Los Angeles, CA, US); Louisiana Museum of Modern Art (Humlebaek, Denmark); Frye Art Museum (Seattle, WA, US); among others.
Sophia Al-Maria (b. 1983, Tacoma, WA, US) is an artist, writer and filmmaker.Read more
Her primary interests are around the possibilities of storytelling and the whitewashing of history. Her work draws on themes and imagery from many places but in particular the global mythos of Science Fiction.
She has exhibited her work in solo exhibitions in prominent institutions including the Julia Stoschek Collection (Düsseldorf, Germany, 2020); Project Native Informant (London, UK, 2019); Tate Britain (London, UK, 2019); Fondazione Pomodoro (Milan, Italy, 2019); Whitechapel Gallery (London, UK, 2019); Mercer Union (Montreal Canada, 2018) The Third Line (Dubai, UAE, 2017); and the Whitney Museum (New York, NY, US, 2016). Selected group exhibitions include Our World is Burning, Palais de Tokyo (Paris, France, 2020); Age of You, Museum of Contemporary Art (Toronto, Canada, 2019); I Was Raised on the Internet, Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago, IL, US, 2018); and Mondialite, Villa Empain Boghossian Foundation (Brussels, Belgium, 2017). Al-Maria’s work is in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, NY, US); Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago, IL, US); Art Jameel (Dubai, UAE); MATHAF (Doha, Qatar); and Barjeel Art Foundation (Sharjah, UAE).
Al-Maria lives in London where she writes screenplays for a living.
Zach Blas (b. 1981, Point Pleasant, WV, US) addresses fantasies of artificial intelligence, policing as mysticism, the crystal balls of Silicon Valley, and time travel.Read more
His practice has been supported by a Creative Capital award in Emerging Fields (New York, NY, US, 2016); and the Arts Council England (London, UK, 2017).
Blas has exhibited in solo exhibitions internationally, including the Edith-Russ-Haus für Medienkunst (Oldenburg, Germany, 2019); Abierto x Obras, Matadero (Madrid, Spain, 2018); MU (Eindhoven, The Netherlands, 2018); Art in General (New York, US, 2018); And Gasworks (London, UK, 2017). Recent group exhibitions include Positions #6, Van Abbemuseum (Eindhoven, The Netherlands, 2020); The Body Electric, Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, MN, US, 2019); The Ends: The Politics of Participation in the Post-Internet Age, Gwangju Biennale (Gwangju, South Korea, 2018); A Mechanism Capable of Changing Itself, Forum Expanded, 68th Berlin International Film Festival (Berlin, Germany, 2018); Propositions for a stage: 24 frames of a beautiful heaven, Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore (Singapore, 2017); and Electronic Superhighway, Whitechapel Gallery (London, UK, 2016).
His work is in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, NY, US); National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (Seoul, South Korea); Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo (Mexico City, Mexico); Design Museum Den Bosch (‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands); and German Museum of Technology (Berlin, Germany).
Blas lives in London and works as Lecturer in the department of Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London.