TRANSFER IS PLEASED TO PRESENT A BI-COSTAL EXHIBITION HARD/SOFT features two new bodies of work from Faith Holland, Soft Computing and The Most Beautiful Dick Pics of All Time, both of which invert and dismantle the gendered associations with those qualities. The angular lines of hardware and penises alike have traditionally been associated with masculinity. What happens when these hard things are made soft, vulnerable, more lovable?
Soft Computing is a series of plush dolls that depict technologies. The series reconfigures our physical relationship to technologies. As technologies get closer and closer to the body–in our back pockets, our laps, and in our beds–they still remain obstinately hard. Plushies, instead, are huggable media: soft to the touch and very willing to accept our embrace.
These devices, with which we have such intimate relationships both physically and emotionally, are often filled with software that is designed to spy on us and addict us to their use. Unlike those devices, these ‘dumb’ technologies are worthy of our love and affection, cuddly and unable to betray our trust.
The plushies also critically reflect important technological designs, beginning with the iMac G3. This particular computer model is remarkable because it made the aesthetics of the device part of its consumer appeal. Unlike popular IBM models of the time, which were beige and had hard edges, the G3 was curvaceous and came in a wide variety of colors. Apple’s round edges are now nearly universal across brands and devices. Other plushies include wires, keyboards, mouses, and cell phones.
Displayed in excessive quantities, the plushies are both installation components and consumer collectables. As objects to take home and love, intimacy is distributed among the individuals cuddling with their plushies, while the gallery installation reflects the stark consumer aesthetics of the Apple Store.
The Most Beautiful Dick Pics of All Time transforms oft-maligned dick pics into beautiful aesthetic experiences. These penises are divorced from the body and any human gender signifiers, recontextualized among bubbles, flowers, and decorative pattern designs. Seen bare, both hard and soft, the Dicks are stripped of their phallic power and are instead made vulnerable, and perhaps as a cause of that, beautiful. The Dicks take inspiration from contemporary artists who have addressed the body and sometimes specifically penises such as Dan Graham, Carol Rama, Andy Warhol, and Busby Berkley.
Displayed as single-channel looped moving images, the Dicks offer a firm compliment to the cuddly installation of Soft Computing.
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