Alan Butler and Alan Warburton
through November 3rd, 2018
“Weird Capitalism” a new exhibition of new works by artists Alan Butler (IE) and Alan Warburton (UK), curated by Nora O Murchú. In the exhibition, the two artists, explore the peculiar tendencies of new modes of work that the smooth logic of capitalism sells us.
A press preview of the exhibition takes place on Saturday, September 8 from 4:30-6pm, followed immediately by a public reception from 6-8pm. The exhibition continues through November 3rd, 2018.
Work, work, work, work, work, work
You see me I be work, work, work, work, work, work
There’s something ’bout that work, work, work, work, work, work
Work, work, work, work, work, work
From endless content production to administrative bloat, today’s conditions of labour ask us to exert not just cognitive and emotional, but existential labor. Economic transactions disguise themselves as experiences, surplus value comes in the forms of retweets, reposts, and algorithmically configured trends. Work has moved beyond the merging of play and labour, and instead operates at an uncanny closeness to our corporeal forms.
Work transforms us. Work contorts us. Work bends us. To live in strange worlds. Fit new ideals. To constantly consume ourselves, spreading its banality across virtually every aspect of our daily lives.
The artists in this show examine the awkward tendencies, the absurd and weird conditions of rapid economic expansion, and the social change that 100%, 24/7 Full Employment brings about. Through their work, Butler and Warburton point to the inescapable structures of capitalism we are firmly embedded within and our complicity within them.
In Homo Economicus, a collection of new video works, Warburton explores how men working in London’s financial district both modify and commodify their own bodies. In each of the works, the artist inflates and deflates 3D characters and the pitch of their voices to conflate the corporate and the corporeal, and question male self-worth and its apparent apotheosis in the hyper-competitive financial services industry.
In Dispatches, a new series of mixed-media sculptures, Butler explores ideas about new economies, precarity, and the nature of work in the internet age. His sculptures take the form of food delivery backpacks and present an array of computer-generated videos, psychedelic reproductions of soviet socialist realism paintings, prints, robotics, and lighting effects. The works raise questions about the contemporary Real, and our conscious and subconscious subjugation that is implicit in a digital society.
The work in Weird Capitalism is presented not as an attempt to develop alternatives to our current modes of employment, but instead explores the part of capitalist structure that is only open for negotiation through its own language.
The exhibition is accompanied by an essay by Nora O Murchú.
The exhibition opens to the public with an artist reception on Saturday, September 8 at TRANSFER from 6–9 PM in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn, at 1030 Metropolitan Avenue. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
– Rihanna (2016), Work. Island Def Jam
– Fisher, Mark (2009), Capitalist Realism: Is there no alternative? Zero Books
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Alan Butler‘s work explores material and philosophical ideas about the functions of imagery and meaning in technologically mediated realities. Works are realised through arrangements of visuals, fetishistic, historical, intellectual property, and their communicative modes that make up their whole. The subject often ties together the cultural dogma that underpins visual languages, with algorithmic modes of being in western capitalist societies. He received his MFA from LaSalle College of the Arts, Singapore (2009) and BA in Fine Art from the National College of Art and Design, Dublin (2004). Alan Butler’s work is in the collections of IMMA – the Irish Museum of Modern Art, The Office of Public Works, Ireland, and Trinity College Dublin. He is represented by Green On Red Gallery, Ireland.
Alan Warburton is a queer British artist whose technologically articulate practice has involved the production of short films, prints, sculptures, 3D models, AR and VR experiences. Central to his work is a critically literate understanding of the commercial computer generated (CG) image, which he explores through focussed software ‘studies’ and video essays, the latest of which (“Goodbye Uncanny Valley”) gained him a global reputation as an artist at the forefront of debates around media, film and technology. Alan studied Critical Fine Art Practice at Brighton University from 2002 – 2005, then Digital VFX at Escape Studios in 2007. He is currently undertaking a practice-based New Media MA at London South Bank University and part of their Centre for the Study of the Networked Image. He is also an artist-in-residence at London’s Somerset House Studios.
ABOUT THE CURATOR
Nora O Murchú is a curator and designer based in Ireland. Her practice engages with fictions and narratives to explore how complex socio-technical systems are imagined, built, and used. She has held positions as a research associate for the Interaction Design Centre at the University of Limerick, the Interaction Research Studio at Goldsmiths, and CRUMB at the University of Sunderland. She has curated exhibitions and events for institutions including the Science Gallery, Rua Red, Resonate Festival, Espace Multimedia Ganter, and White Box Gallery. She is currently a lecturer in Interaction Design at the University of Limerick in Ireland.
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