Morphing Overnight

Seventeen Gallery, London
27 Feb - 18 April 2015

 
 
 

Morphing Overnight
Curated by Attilia Fattori Franchini

Julieta Aranda
Dora Budor
Debora Delmar Corp. 
Yuri Pattison
Josh Harris
ÅYR with Emanuel Röhss

FTP Server 81.136.155.84

“Every act of transgression offers at least a backhanded compliment to the order, the norm, or the law that is being transgressed – since it is only the continuing power of that order, norm, or law that gives meaning to the action of defying it.”  Steven Shaviro

Morphing, as referred to in the exhibition title, is a digital post-production effect, allowing the smooth transformation of one form to another. The artists in Morphing Overnight practise a soft transformation, exploring multiple positions, merging marketing, technology, entertainment and corporate aesthetics to investigate social and economic systems whilst simultaneously being part of them.

In 1994, Josh Harris founded Pseudo Networks, a website for live audio and video webcasting, featuring shows on science, music, fashion and art. As with many enterprises investing in technology at the time, particularly in the recently born World Wide Web, Pseudo grew rapidly to 50 separate channels transmitting 200 hours of original programming per month. By January 1999 using funds generated by Pseudo.com, Harris had leased two adjacent buildings on Lower Broadway, Manhattan, transforming them into a social experiment known as “Quiet: We Live In Public”. The site, replete with 150 living pods, an 80-foot dining table and a gun range, hosted 100 people for a month filmed by over 100 surveillance cameras, allowing each of the residents to have their own channel through which to watch each other.

“Everything is free, except your image. That we own.” Josh Harris

On the 1st January 2000, the police evacuated the site and all its residents, classifying the project as cult. On the 11th March 2000, the dot-com bubble burst, the Nasdaq Composite lost 78% of its value as it fell from 5046.86 to 1114.11 and with it many newly born dot-com businesses closed. The market was not ready yet to absorb the new technology.

Central to Morphing Overnight are two films narrating Josh Harris enterprises, a short documentary Pseudo EPK and Quiet People Watching, two hours of uncut archival material recorded by surveillance cameras during the project. The figure of Josh Harris is a paradigm reflecting a moment in recent history when the intersection between economic fluctuations and information technology had started determining a new and more complex sensitivity and aesthetic language, defined by Shaviro as a “project of affective and cognitive mapping”.

With What Right?, Julieta Aranda investigates ideas of circulation and collectivity whilst Debora Delmar Corp. tests the possibilities allowed by mass production, networks and online distribution. Artist Dora Budor exploits technical processes behind the visual effects industry, using skin prosthetics and injury make-up from Hollywood productions as tools to form sculptural objects. 

An FTP site installed on a repurposed HP ProLiant server has been placed between the two exhibition spaces. This work by Yuri Pattison holds research contributions by all the exhibition’s artists, accessible only for the shows duration on the public IP (ftp://81.136.155.84/ ). Along with it, a Dell PowerEdge server, the same model as the one chosen by Wikileaks to host information, lays opened on the floor. Its hardware is exposed and used to hold a 1989 Goddess of Democracy statue, a set of lock picks and other sets of information, resonating questions about information democratisation and data access.

The gallery office has been transformed by the ÅYR, with an installation reinforcing overlaps between spaces of work, domesticity, leisure and display, superimposing a work by Emanuel Röhss on a formal arrangement of domestic potpourri.

The prevalence in the entertainment sector of new editing and post-production methods, mirrors the information technology of contemporary neoliberal society, which has transformed collective aspirations, becoming simultaneously symptomatic and productive of new and complex social processes.

The exhibition mimics this complexity, leaking into the gallery website and the gallery office space, using both as additional display platforms.

 

ÅYR, Pavilion Blue, 2015
Vinyl paint, dried rose buds, screen print on mirror, shelf, books, Virgin Atlantic eye-mask, Bloody Mary

ÅYR, Theresa's Green, 2015
Vinyl paint, ceramic plates, articulated bracket, acrylic and ink on canvas

Emanuel Röhss, Knut Ljungfelt 9, 2014, 2014
Acrylic and alkyd enamel on canvas
200 x 150 cm

Website of Seventeen Gallery

Images courtesy Seventeen