Curated by Jacqueline Kok
Artists: Chen I-Chun & Huo He-Lin, Kerry Downey, EASTWOOD, Józef Gałązka, Yazan Khalili, Antonia Low, Jillian Mayer, Stephanie Owens, Aya Rodriguez-Izumi, Caroline Sinders & Mani Nilchiani, Justin Sterling
Location: Pfizer Building, 630 Flushing Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11206
Opening reception: April 19, 2018, 6-9 pm
Exhibition dates: April 19-May 4, 2018
To schedule an appointment to view the exhibition, please contact Jacqueline Kok at email@example.com
MA Curatorial Practice at the School of Visual Arts is pleased to present Bric-a-Brac, curated by Jacqueline Kok. An international group exhibition that points to experimentation in the world at large, Bric-a-Brac explores the implications of social interaction within the shifting global geopolitical order of the digital age. As information technologies beget new kinds of multi-directional communication flows, many of which indicate an exacerbation of polarized thoughts and perspectives, it becomes compelling to examine the changes and/or reinforced behavior that occur in social protocols in and beyond information networks.
Some of the works portray the positions people now find themselves during this radical time of change. Jillian Mayer’s colourful bulky furniture responds to our intimate dependency on technological devices while Justin Sterling’s fire hydrants and cone exemplify the ways in which humans adapt to new hierarchies in socio-economically changing locations. Jozef Galazka’s Laöcoon-inspired bronze statue of road workers demonstrates impending anxiety over power in structures of labor, whereas Caroline Sinders and Mani Nilchiani explore similar fears by proposing a future with new surveillance devices through their VR game. Yazan Khalili uses recent technology to evoke the colonial nature of photo documentation and evidence whereas Antonia Low’s digitally printed curtains of enlarged stone stairs trap viewers in a pseudo-reality. Kerry Downey’s video of a silhouette of their hands and a handlebar poetically suggests that a new form of governance and the possibilities of confronting polarization lie in taking a distanced stance from our normalized expectations.
Other pieces question the nature of our decision-making logic, highlighting algorithmic culture and systematic protocols as influential factors. Chen I-Chun and Luo He-Lin’s invitation to scan their QR codes puts viewers in a Prisoner’s Dilemma as the action prompts a denial-of-service attack that blocks others from the Internet. Similarly, EASTWOOD’s own version of Civilization VI breaks down issues of cyber-warfare and algorithmic non-human agents by asking players to choose to be the head of secret service agencies or organizations. Aya Rodriguez-Izumi’s performance blurs the notion of protocol and legality by distributing fake IDs to voluntary participants, and finally, Stephanie Owens’ projection of paired reCAPTCHA words humorously offers potential for virtual romance.
Conceived from observation and analysis of how information technologies have changed the ways we perceive, collect, receive and disseminate information, Bric-a-Brac pushes viewers, users, and participants to evaluate how individual actions may or may not reflect social surroundings; how echo chambers are created; how choices are possibly “manufactured.” Perhaps by calling for a deeper level of engagement, we can begin to critically think about how these political shifts, coupled with algorithms and protocols can inform us of a new social horizon, for better or for worse.
Image: Justin Sterling, Let it Burn, 2016, SoHo fire hydrant, Williamsburg fire hydrant, rope. Image courtesy of the artist; on view at Bric-à-Brac, curated by Jacqueline Kok.