BA (Hons) Digital Arts
Everything You See Is In The Past
An exhibition and accompanying catalogue exploring art at the intersection with the internet and contemporary digital culture. The exhibition features works by Enes Alba, Dario Bucheli, Perce Jerrom, and Atom Chen Zidong. The catalogue includes documentation of works plus interviews with Lisa Barnard (indexstring), Pita Arreola-Burns and Elliott Burns (Off Site Project), Valentina Peri, Ghislaine Boddington, and Walter Corneli.
We live in a time where offline life has become so intertwined with the online. Novel approaches to making, curating, and performing contemporary art are taking place on and off the digital stage of the internet and leading to new ways of seeing. Creating content for our two Instagram accounts, blogging on how to fight the perils of the art world, hosting virtual house parties at our private views, and keeping up with newsletters. There is a certain passion, a drive for wanting to make things happen for us. And so we get creative, sometimes really creative. We roll up our sleeves and code self-made websites, polish our Twitter profiles from old material, and stream our own cooking channel on Twitch. We are all internet artists now, regardless of our interests. In truth, in the past fifteen years, the production and circulation of new media art have become so reliant on the internet that more and more artists have started to use the web to express themselves and “deterritorialise” (Gronlund, 2017) their work away from the gallery walls.
The big shift in the way people talk about the internet today is that when they say internet, they do not necessarily mean online. The internet has such a pervasive effect on our lives that it is hard to imagine living without it. People use it as a tool, a companion, a vehicle for communication, a space for self-reflection, an entertainment platform. As a result, we now begin to speak of post-internet because the internet has become so ubiquitous that we stop to notice its existence. No more does the internet exists to indicate the online web, accessible through a device connected to a network. Instead, it endures as an online-offline heterotopian space that connects faces and machines from around the world. A location that is neither here nor there.
In winter 2019, I embarked on a research-driven project that looked at the influence of the internet over the artistic and curatorial practice. Using curating as my methodology, I devised an online exhibition featuring four international artists. Titled Everything You See Is In The Past, the exhibition ran between 28 March - 11 April 2020.
To launch the exhibition I held a virtual opening, which is also my performance as part of the show. This “online happy hour” and private view served as a temporary space for participants [to the Zoom call] to socialise and find refuge in art — as best as possible — while staying home due to COVID-19 restrictions.
After the exhibition, I published a catalogue featuring documentation of the works from the exhibition, plus Q&As and interviews from a wide range of cultural practitioners, including academics, scholars, artists, curators, gallery directors, and researchers. The discussions included in the catalogue should be seen as extensions of the discourse initiated with the exhibition, and I hope they will clarify trends and divergences in opinion regarding art at the intersection with internet and contemporary digital culture.