DYSTOPIA + IDENTITY IN THE AGE OF GLOBAL COMMUNICATIONS
DYSTOPIA. CURATED BY CRISTINE WANG (CURATOR, NEW MEDIA ARTS)
MACHINES WILL LEAD TO A NEW ORDER BOTH OF WORK AND OF LEISURE”
[Le Corbusier, Vers une Architecture (1923)]
Artists at the beginning of the 20th century sought towork in hybrid forms, as a socially-oriented movement, anutopian vision which embodied the idealism of a neworder, believing itself capable of changing, reforming,reordering–totally changing all aspects of human life.They embraced the notion of the all-encompassing role ofart: the profound belief in the ability of art to effectchange.
Almost one hundred years later, into the new millenium,we have seen the effects of this utopian vision: thefailure of modernism and its various permutations on aglobal basis.
At the dawn of the new millenium, what are the newparadigms for living in this Age of GlobalCommunications? We see that in the work of BettyBeaumont, for instance, in her “Ocean Landmark Project”(1978-1980), located 40 miles beyond New York Harbor,that here is a prototype for sustainable living. It is itself,both an underwater sculpture on a massive scale: 500tons of an industrial waste product made of processedcoal-waste, a potential pollutant that has undergone aplanned transformation into a flourishing ecosystem: apoetic vision 70 feet below the surface, on the floor ofthe Atlantic Continental Shelf.
Contrasting with this positive paradigm for inhabitationor regeneration in the world's oceans, Christoph Draegeroffers us his catastrophic vision in his video “Oil” (1998).Utilising found footage of the world's oil spill disasters,he comments upon the way in which we easily forget thequestion of technological failure, deconstructing ourconcept of reality as mediated by the news media,hollywood, and other sources of stimuli in the globalmedia-saturated village.
“At the end of the 20th century, catastrophe has notbecome a paradigm of world experience, but rather,because of its ubiquity in the media, the definitive imageof “accelerating standstill” (–Paul Virilio). The magnitudeof a catastrophe is no longer measured by the number ofits victims, but rather by its medial valuation andresulting telepresence–whose impressive images presentus with horror as an aesthetic experience.”
[Dirk Blubaum, The Security of Risk]
CRISTINE WANG (curator, NEW MEDIA ARTS)
THE ALTERNATIVE museum, NEW YORK
December 2, 2000 – January 13, 2001
285 East Third Street New York, NY 10009
Participating Artists in the Gallery + Online Exhibitions Include:
DANIEL GARCIA ANDUJAR
SHU LEA CHEANG
MARIAH CORRIGAN + JONATHAN HERDER
CRITICAL ART ENSEMBLE
JENNIFER + KEVIN MCCOY
FRANCESCA DA RIMINI +