Desire in Digital

Pornography was one of the internet's earliest forms of content and has arguably propelled the development of online imaging and video formats. Consistently the net's most financially viable material, the heavy presence of online porn has also contributed to the social formation of desire. Despite the growth of Porn Studies as an academic field of inquiry, creative and intellectual studies of digital porn are scarce. Digitalia: Intimacy in the Hyperreal is a group exhibition curated by Evan J. Garza at Houston's Deborah Colton Gallery to address this gap. Artists Charles Cohen (pictured), Graham Guerra, Tracey Emin, Daniel Handal, Sean Johnson, Steven Miller, Ray Ogar, Alexander Reyna, and Robert Yarber present work drawing on the broad spectrum of online sites of desire, moving beyond the hardcore to also consider internet dating services, social networking sites, and even instant messaging applications in order to articulate the role of these technologies in constructing intimacy, and the shape that these shared connections might take. Underlying the show's organizational logic is an interest in questions of reality as they relate to the supposed intangibility of the electronic currents and pixels that comprise the source material at hand. But just as theorists have demonstrated the corporeal aspects of fantasy, the work selected for Digitalia ultimately points to an important sense of materiality in relation to web surfing, image downloading, and other aspects of situational voyeurism. If intimacy is about the space between people, Digitalia carves out a markedly poignant space for considering the libidinal realities of digital culture. The show is open January 12-March 1, 2008. - Marisa Olson