STATE OF THE ARTs (2005)

Curated by Jacklyn Alford
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This exhibit highlights art and life in a technology intensive world; where new media has transformed the art world by exploring hybrid forms and combining live and mediated experiences. Artists are producing work that simulate what may be considered 'real life', blurring the line between illusion and reality. Pushing this concept even further, artists are creating pieces that place the viewer in situations that offer a greater 'sense' of connection to the world as a whole, while at the same time breeding isolation and inhumanity. For instance, in works like Love Maker v7, the artist created a program that attempts to tailor a love letter that would best suit his/her desired mate and generates an image of a potential human which might be responsive to this letter. It seems that as the lines between virtual and actual worlds blur, technology is altering our perception of what is natural, organic and "real". Some artists are mocking this concept, choosing to explore in their work what the art world and the world as a whole may be coming to with the advent of an impersonal, technology- based life. David Sullivan depicts this reaction in The Ego Machine , a piece that mocks the idea of new technology blurring illusion and reality and how our lives and deaths may be effected by it. Created for a show of artist-designed funerary urns, this piece assumes that as our lives become more digitized, so will our deaths. Our vain efforts to project our historical selves into the future will be reflected in systems and programs that will eventually be created to carry on our egos. A virtual agent, a web spider, scours the web for mentions of the artists name. The results are stored in a database, which drives the artist’s image in Shockwave. As the mentions increase, an image of the artist on-screen multiplies and becomes younger. As the mentions decline, the artist's image loses its health and deteriorates. As with any piece of art, the medium and the content together form the art. The souly technology based interaction required for a piece of new media based art is what this exhibit celebrates and at the same time questions. How far will it be taken?

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