Approximately 3.8 billion people use the internet worldwide. Now a global necessity, it has grown to define the everyday experience, influencing the way societies work, communicate and enjoy leisure time. Since its conception in 1989 by Tim Berners-Lee, it has grown rapidly, transforming contemporary culture almost unrecognisably. Marking the beginning of a globalised age, the world has seen shifts in politics, geographies and economies and over a period of just 30 years, an age before the existence of online networks has become a distant, almost unimaginable concept.
The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, investigates the unparalleled influence of the web on – and through – visual art in their most recent show. Showcasing a range of media including photography, video, performance and virtual reality, the exhibition brings together an international, intergenerational group of more than 60 artists, including Cory Arcangel, Cindy Sherman, David Maljkovic, Nam June Paik, Dara Birnbaum and Camille Henrot. Each practitioner responds to one of the show’s five major themes, which interconnect to provide a comprehensive and wide-reaching evaluation of the current moment. As Eva Respini, Chief Curator, notes: “The exhibition explores how all art has been radically transformed by the cultural impact of the internet, and establishes important historical links between ideas pioneered by artists before the digital age and artists working today.”
The show comprises five curated strands. For example, Networks and Circulation examines the pervasive nature of information channels and the implications of living in an image-saturated society. In Hybrid Bodies, artists question what it means to be human in a technologically mediated landscape, whilst Virtual Worlds marks the increasing elision between the simulated and the real in day to day life. States of Surveillance provides a critique of the growing influence of observation technologies. Finally, Performing the Self highlights the increased visibility granted to those circulating within digital systems, charting real-life consequences.
From 7 February. Find out more: www.icaboston.org.
1. Camille Henrot, Grosse fatigue. Photo courtesy of the artist and Kamel Mennour Paris.