Because of my research for my dissertation into how Cage was influenced by the East I came across a historical movement, “The Fluxus Movement” which encompassed several artists, one of them being Nam June Paik, an artist whom I have already discussed in my blog. In White Chapel they held an exhibition entitled “Electronic Superhighway” which showcased several artists’ work, many of them being installations, all of which were related to the rise of technology, spanning from the 60s to the present day.
Nam June Paik’s work was exhibited in this exhibition: His piece “Internet Dream” was present. This involved 52 monitors which looked like TVs displaying electronic images. The work revolves around Paik’s awareness of information saturation in society.
Another piece of his at this exhibition was “Good Morning, Mr Orwell” which was an art-piece that was inspired from Orwell’s society written about in his novel, “1984.” It was a linkage of satellites from New York, West Germany, South Korea and Paris.
Other artists whose work were showcased in this exhibition included: Cory Arcangel, Jeremy Bailey, James Bridle, Constant Dullaart, Oliver Laric, Roy Ascott, Judith Barry, Lynn Hershman Leeson and Ulla Wiggen.
I particularly enjoyed looking at the video installations, one of them being a critique in of the rise of modernity, exploring themes such as evolution and the human condition. Other interesting works I came across included a series of images charting an internet conversation between two strangers. I also found an installation called “Lorna” (1979-1982) extremely compelling : It involved a room with a chair, a television and a pair of shoes on the floor. It was supposed to be the room of a fictional character named Lorna who is agoraphobic and her only outlet to the outer world is a television. The viewer of the room is invited to step into it and select different channels with the remote control to control the television, thereby becoming a part of the protagonist’s world. This piece reminded me of the film, “The Dreamers”, in which two twins alienate themselves from the world around the and their only portal to life is through films which they are obsessed with watching.
The artist who conducted “Lorna” is Hershman Leeson. She has done a lot of work detailing human’s relationship with machines and has often used alter egos in her work. She has explored themes such as identity, the notions of privacy during a time of surveillance and the relationship between real and virtual worlds.
Another interesting work of art I saw was created by Celia Hampton. She explored how the internet engages with sex and desire. Her message was expressed by paintings, portraying nude women. These women were either her friends or found online through an anonymous website.
All in all this exhibition was extremely enjoyable as it provoked questions about how technology such as the internet is used today and how it has developed since the sixties.