Centro De Cultura Digital
CCD in Mexico City
FEATURED ARTISTS: Morehshin Allahyari, LaTurbo Avedon, Cibelle Cavalli Bastos, Casey Kauffmann, CommuneEast Ltd., Keiken, Lauren McCarthy, Claudia Mate, Eva Papamargariti, Amina Ross and Jenna Sutela.
TRANSFER is pleased to present a screening of Refiguring Binaries at the Centro De Cultura Digital in Mexico City. The gallery’s Director, Wade Wallerstein and Founder, Kelani Nichole will introduce the works and ideas in the screening. Accompanying the screening is a Binary Refiguration Expansion Pack curated by Wallerstein, which features artists making augmented reality face filters published via instagram.
Refiguring Binaries explores identity, the body, and the politics of technology. The boundaries of technology and the body are blurred—as are the lines between author, image, and algorithm—as new categories that defy binary classification emerge. The works in this selection explore tensions between intimacy, privacy, and agency in intelligent systems, revealing ‘Artificial Intelligence’ to be an alien being of our creation. The artists present virtual spaces inhabited with queer bodies, and reclaim identity through subversive uses of technology. Possible futures emerge as the layers of simulation that mediate contemporary culture are revealed.
This is the third iteration of Refiguring Binaries presented by TRANSFER, previously shown in Chicago and NYC. TRANSFER is an experimental gallery that explores simulation and expanded practice. The screening is hosted by The Centro De Cultura Digital, an institution dedicated to the production, training, communication and reflection on new cultural, social and economic manifestations that arise from the daily use of digital technology.
Morehshin Allahyari – She Who Sees the Unknown, Huma
‘She Who Sees The Unknown’ is an evolving series of female icons inspired by Middle-Eastern and North-African jinn, or figures that represent possessive spirits. Morehshin Allahyari’s 3D printed sculptures, narrative video essays, performances and interactive media present female/queer monstrous figures as a means to explore the catastrophes of colonialism, patriarchism and environmental degradation in relationship to the Middle East. She describes her open-source, informative practice as a counterexample to “digital colonialism” — the digitization of historic cultural sites in a way that is not open to the public. In her artistic refiguring and fabulation, she draws on feminist traditions of building alternative narratives of the past and the future. (2016, Duration: 06:04)
Morehshin Allahyari is an artist, activist, writer, and educator. She was born and raised in Iran and moved to the United States in 2007. Her work deals with the political, social, and cultural contradictions we face every day. She thinks about technology as a philosophical toolset to reflect on objects and as a poetic means to document our personal and collective lives and struggles in the 21st century. Recently she has been awarded major commissions by The Shed, New Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art, Liverpool Biennale, and FACT.
Jenna Sutela – nimiia cétiï
nimiia cétiï is an audiovisual work by Jenna Sutela that uses machine learning to generate a new written and spoken language. This language is based on the computer’s interpretation of a Martian tongue from the late 1800s, originally channeled by the French medium Hélène Smith and now voiced by Sutela, as well as the movement of Bacillus subtilis nattō, an extremophilic bacterium that, according to recent spaceflight experimentation, can survive on Mars. The machine, in this project, is a medium, channeling messages from entities that usually cannot speak. The work is also about intelligent machines as aliens of our creation. ‘nimiia cétiï’ was created in collaboration with Memo Akten and Damien Henry as part of n-dimensions, Google Arts & Culture’s artist-in-residence program at Somerset House Studios. (2018, Duration: 12:05)
Jenna Sutela works with words, sounds, and other living materials. Her audiovisual pieces, sculptures, and performances seek to identify and react to precarious social and material moments, often in relation to technology. Sutela’s work has been presented at museums and art contexts internationally, including Guggenheim Bilbao, Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, and Serpentine Galleries. She is a Visiting Artist at The MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology (CAST) in 2019-20.
Lauren McCarthy – LAUREN
In the live media performance LAUREN Lauren McCarthy attempts to become a human version of Amazon Alexa, a smart home intelligence for people in their own homes. The performance lasts several days and begins with the installation of a series of custom-designed networked smart devices (including cameras, microphones, switches, door locks, faucets, and other electronic devices). McCarthy then remotely watches over the person 24/7 and controls all aspects of their home. She aims to be better than an AI because she can understand them as people and anticipate their needs. The relationship that emerges falls in the ambiguous space between human-machine and human-human. The project is a meditation on the smart home, the tensions between intimacy vs. privacy and convenience vs. agency they present, as well as the role of human labor in the future of automation. (2019, Duration: 03:50)
Lauren McCarthy is an LA-based artist examining social relationships in the midst of surveillance, automation, and algorithmic living. She is the creator of p5.js, and Co-Director of the Processing Foundation. Lauren’s work has been exhibited internationally, at places such as The Barbican Centre, Ars Electronica, Fotomuseum Winterthur, Haus der elektronischen Künste, SIGGRAPH, Onassis Cultural Center, IDFA DocLab, Science Gallery Dublin, Seoul Museum of Art. She has received numerous honors including a Creative Capital Award, Sundance Fellowship, Eyebeam Residency, and grants from the Knight Foundation, Mozilla Foundation, Google, and Rhizome. Lauren is an Associate Professor at UCLA Design Media Arts.
LaTurbo Avedon – Afterlife (Beta)
Afterlife (Beta) is a cautionary look at toxic masculinity in cyberspace. In the short video, harsh light quickly flashes on and off over nude digital avatars and pointedly unrealistic representations of masculine tropes. 3D bodies are mapped, broken down into 2D flats, and glamorized as glistening, muscular statues, uncannily, impossibly smoothed over. Figures placed in idealized environments like art galleries, beaches, and pastoral landscapes are posed in increasingly violent scenarios as the piece progresses. Highlighting the frightening aesthetic forms that toxic masculinity takes in cyberspace invites the viewer to think critically about what they experience online. Avedon speculates a future where people pursue alternative forms in virtual space that extend beyond these gendered corporeal constraints. (2019, Duration: 05:35)
LaTurbo Avedon is an artist and avatar whose work gives new meaning to the term “born-digital” – as Avedon is a gender-neutral figure that originated in, and works within, virtual spaces. In those spaces, found in video works and animations, they question the role of digital authorship and the boundary between physical and virtual worlds. Through their “constant state of character creation,” Avedon explores technology’s transformation of personhood. Their work can be found in collections like the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Thoma Art Collection, and has recently been featured on the BBC World Service ‘Cultural Frontline’.
Claudia Maté – 3 Short Films
Claudia Maté’s accomplished portfolio is a rabbit hole of bizarre and fantastical artworks. In this series of shorts, the audience digitally traverses a rendered female bodybuilder from the inside out, enjoys household chores with a diligently scrubbing child, and see a beauty queen cross into another realm and shatter herself. (2017-2019, Duration: 1min/each)
Claudia Maté lives and works in Paris. Mate blends the familiar with the odd, and the futuristic is bizarrely intertwined with strange retro tropes. She spans a large area of new media and online based works, across a variety of formats including programming, 3D, video, videogames, VR, GIFs and sound. Her immaculate attention to detail and carefully considered renderings have attracted a long list of famous clients like Gucci, Camper, Dazed and MTV. She fuses the internet and interactive 3D technology into an aesthetic that is non-ideological and defines a never-ending new aesthetic – into a surreal and pixelated world where anything is possible, and nothing is as it seems.
Eva Papamargariti – For Now all I can Promise is that Things will Become Weirder
For now all i can promise is that things will become weirder combines CG animated sequences, text, sound and filmed extracts. It addresses the ambiguous sense of numbness that is provoked by the current stream and rhythm of reality. Information and facts are perceived and absorbed as a palimpsest of imbricated fragments, images, sounds and events that are floating between blurred boundaries, creating a paradoxical amalgam of extravagance and often an uncanny feeling. Hierarchies of value and meaning collapse and get rearranged continuously. (2018, Duration: 12:21)
Eva Papamargariti is a Greek architect and artist who employs digital imagery as well as printed material and sculptural installations to explore simultaneity—the merging and dissolving of physical and virtual surroundings—and how fabricated synthetic images and physical devices define and fragment our identity and everyday experience. Her work has been shown at the New Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art, Tate Britain, MoMA PS1, Transmediale Festival, and was featured in the 2018 Athens Biennial.
Amina Ross – Specular Cry
Amina Ross creates simulations in order to explore their own relationship to their body and feelings. Screening here is a new short film titled Specular Cry which the artist describes as ‘a release in the darkness’. Amina sculpts with simulated fluid dynamics to reveal parts of self that aren’t always visible. Specular Cry is an imaging of an interior world as it escapes the body.(2019, Duration: 01:11)
Amina Ross is an undisciplined creator who produces boundary-crossing works that embrace embodiment, imaging technologies, intimacy and collectivity in physical and digital spaces. Amina was a 2018-2019 Artist-in-Residence at Arts & Public Life and the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture at the University of Chicago. Ross is currently an MFA candidate at Yale School of Art within the sculpture department.
Casey Kauffmann – UncannySFValley Animated GIFs
Casey Kauffmann’s collage works on @uncannysfvalley are created on her iPhone, rooted in the net art process of the online search, aggregation, and manipulation of “poor images.” Kauffmann sources her images from Tumblr and Google image search, accumulating a collection of material over several years from all corners of the internet. These GIFs – assembled using app manipulation and sequential arrangement and published online @uncannysfvallery – address a multitude of themes including femme sexual representation and online self imaging. Employing hashtag titles and and iconographic meme imagery, these works use a deadpan signature humor commonly found within social media exchange to address femme agency and the gender constructs within self representation. (30-second loops, in-between each work above)
Casey Kauffmann is an artist whose digital and drawing practices address the contemporary performance of self as it relates to femme representation, social media, and reality television. Casey was born in 1989 in the San Fernando Valley, received her BA from the Evergreen State College, and is now based in Los Angeles completing her MFA at USC. Her work has been shown at such venues as: The Brand Library, Leimin Space, Elevator Mondays, Human Resources, and the Center for Contemporary Art Santa Fe.
FEATURED Artists – Binary Refiguration Expansion Pack
Curated by TRANSFER Director Wade Wallerstein
Keiken, meaning ‘experience’ in Japanese, is a cross-dimensional collaborative practice based in London and Berlin and founded in 2015 by artists Tanya Cruz, Hana Omori and Isabel Ramos, they frequently work with many other collaborators. Through an intersection of moving-image, new media installation, virtual/augmented reality and gamified performance they test-drive impending futures in the realms of the ‘phygital’ (physical and digital). Recent projects include Feel(s) 360 for Image Behaviour at ICA, London (2019) and Feel My Metaverse alongside long term collaborator George Jasper Stone for Jerwood Art’s Collaborate!, London (2019). Keiken have toured their performative lecture Honey, I’m Data! at IMPAKT Festival, Utrecht and Hervisions at LUX Moving Image and Space Art + Technology, London (2018). They have exhibited and curated at MIRA Festival, Barcelona (2018) and U Studio at Tate St Ives (2017).
Keiken’s research develops and expands with the collaborators, together challenging the dynamic of reality and questioning how societal introjection governs the way we think and perceive. In expanding ‘networks of networks’ they explore how technology is affecting our individual and collective consciousness. Keiken activate networked spaces as a site in which the consciousness’ of archetypal stereotypes/figures are used as facets to unravel the futures and ramifications of our accelerating technological age.
Cibelle Cavalli Bastos (@aevtarperform)
Cibelle Cavalli Bastos has a conceptual, expanded field and interdisciplinary practice that includes writing, performance, sound, video, painting, sculpture, AR/VR/XR and installation. Cavalli Bastos Currently operates daily through Instagram stories and IGTV under @aevtarperform with the project Aevtar/Deprogram. They are concerned with the challenges in perception posed by technological advancements, the constant reparation of violent behavioral patterns, and its consequences in identity formation and politics.
Cavalli Bastos works with pattern recognition, linguistics, psychology, cognition, and xeno-epistemic practices in search for the core structures that uphold violence and disable empathy. Through art/life practice as research, method and output, strategies are put in place to locate and tackle these issues. Striving for subjective consistency, rather than formal consistency, all works occur on the intersection of purpose, occasion, and site specificity, through the development of speculative fictions and scientific/psychological experimentations expressed in immersive installations, performances of alter-identities, digital activism, AR filters, lectures, workshops, musical and text based work, as well as individual formally resolute pieces.”
CommuneEast Ltd. (@communeeast.ltd)
CommuneEAST is an ideas and vision institute, collating and creating the utopian taste of the future. CommuneEAST was founded energetically by Leanne Elliot Young and Richard Nicoll at Art Basel Miami in 2015. Birthed as a space for questioning, collaboration, exchange and fusion through actions in a view to creating a holistic utopian sensory output. They work as a module studio that drafts strategic global IRL and URL partnerships, both incubating relationships, conversations, and talent, with disruption and objective viewpoints at the core mission.
This work exists within the creative and tech landscapes, each project starts from a S.T.E.A.M. narrative in a view to creating objective new perspectives using science, technology, engineering, and art. CommuneEAST. unites across a global network offering disruptive conversations, debate, strategic cultural collaborations, production, mentoring, bespoke services, and creative incubation. CommuneEAST is always seeking to provide a happy ending through a sensory climax of aesthetics and truth. The group provokes an open discussion on language, aesthetics, and perception provoking new and bold formulas of creativity. CommuneEAST harnesses and ignites bold objective dialogues towards the creative industries.