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THE WEB IS A LONELY PLACE, COME PLAY
Curated by: Akemi Hiatt
Artists: Christopher Baker, Petra Cortright, Jon Rafman, Rafaël Rozendaal, and Kate Steciw
On view: January 12 - March 31, 2013
Opening reception: Saturday, January 12 from 4-6pm
Gallery hours: Wednesday - Sunday, 12-5pm and by appointment. Free and open to the public.
The Center for Photography at Woodstock (CPW) is very excited to announce its upcoming group exhibition, The Web is a Lonely Place, Come Play. Curated by Akemi Hiatt and on view from January 12 – March 31, 2013, the exhibition presents five artists who produce work within or through the radically democratized "free space" of the web. Through video, performance, photo-based imagery, interactive installation, and animations, each artist explores the internet as both seductive virtual playground and subversive artistic studio.
While the zeitgeist of our time seem marked by an increasing reliance on, as well as enthusiasm for, modern technologies, the internet has also provided untapped potential for new creative and conceptual strategies.The themes at work in the exhibition, The Web is a Lonely Place, Come Play, oscillate between vulnerability and openness, the private and the public, and the outdated and cutting-edge. Cumulatively, the work in the show probes at the tension inherent in our overwhelming embrace of new media as well our growing apprehension of its influence on our culture.
The immersive installation Hello World! or: How I Learned to Stop Listening and Love the Noise by Christopher Baker (Chicago, IL) is a wall comprised of over 5,000 video diaries found on the internet. The project addresses the fundamental human desire to be heard, as these individuals confide in a potentially massive, but imagined, audience.
The fantasy-laden work of Petra Cortright (Santa Barbara, CA)mines the territory of webcam performance, clip art, computer graphics, and animated .gifs. Low-tech effects are gleefully combined with footage of Cortright unabashedly performing for the camera, resulting in oddly addictive short films that probe at the junction of banality and glossiness.
Also dealing with the emerging tensions of surface versus depth, Kate Steciw (NYC) makes artworks referenced by consumerism and the overabundance of images. Her job as a commercial retoucher serves as source material for her manipulated images and photo-based sculptures, in which stock photography and the capabilities of Photoshop are melded, twisted, and turned – yet outputted as physical objects.
9-eyes, an ongoing project by Jon Rafman (Montreal, Quebec), began as a Tumblr blog populated with screen-grabs from Google Maps. Collected from the perspective of a street photographer (albeit one who never needs to leave his desk), the scenes are by turn poignant, funny, odd, and terrifying, yet speak to a voyeurism and tension between what is private and what is public.
Spread out over a vast network of domain names, Rafael Rozendaal (NYC and abroad) attracts an audience of over 25 million visits per year. His animations employ the screen as a limitless pictorial space, where beauty, accessibility, interactivity, and simple emotions can be explored, occasionally in the form of contained games.
New forms of communication consciously and subconsciously frame our ways of interacting with each other and the world around us at an ever rapidly increasing pace. As a result it is often difficult but vital that we pause to consider how the technologies that we interface with on a daily basis can provide some sort of context, or deeper understanding of, the contemporary human existence.Working in response to the ever expanding production, circulation, and consumption of visual material online, the artists in the exhibition are contributing to a continuing dialogue with technology as well as with each other and their audience(s).The creation of new media work and the surrounding discourse occurs in a constant state of flux, subject to the awesome speed with which new platforms, applications, and hardware is invented and open to the interconnectivity fueled by online communication.
Rather than an overarching survey of web-art today, The Web Is A Lonely Place, Come Play focuses on artists whose practices are fully embedded in the values of this new aesthetic.As intuitive creators they use seemingly simple gestures and tools to explore an uncharted frontier not dissimilar from the ways in which a child uses play to make sense of a larger world – in this case, the limitless possibilities of the web. But as attuned cultural critics, adept at subverting the tools at their disposal and aware of their social implications, they inform and inspire a closer engagement and understanding of the online realm.
During the course of the exhibition a series of educational resources will be implemented to invite audiences to engage with the work and ideas on view.These will include the rolling Tumblr blog Come Play at CPW with articles, images, and new media posts to continue the discussion outside of the physical exhibition. CPW invites school groups to schedule tours and educational activities with the staff throughout the course of the show, and details about panel discussion with artists and professionals in the field will be announced in January 2013.
This exhibition and its related programs have been made possible in part with funds from the Phillip and Edith Leonian Foundation, New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency, with support from Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.