Exhibition

Curated by Dr Bill Balaskas, Director of Research, Business and Innovation, School of Arts, Kingston University

Stanley Picker Gallery
Opening: Sunday 4 September, 17:30

The exhibition will be on from September 4 to September 10, 2022.
Opening Hours: 11:00-17:00 Thur-Sat.

Here you can download a pdf version of the DRHA 2022 Exhibition Catalogue:
DOWNLOAD DHRA 2022 EXHIBITION CATALOGUE


The DRHA 2022 exhibition interrogates the parallel emergencies that define our post-pandemic world, and the protagonist role that digital technologies and science play within it. Inspired by the title of this year’s conference, “Digital Sustainability: From Resilience to Transformation”, the artworks featured in the exhibition consider existing challenges while, also, inviting us to speculate on what might come next. Using a variety of digital and analogue media, the artists of DRHA 2022 explore issues and ideas that vividly reflect this time of profound change for humanity and our planet: climate crisis; post-digital materiality; the human body within and beyond virtual milieus; non-human worlds; social media narratives and narratologies; post-apocalyptic aesthetics; data visualisation and biases; AI and corporate culture; decolonisation and identity. Collectively, the artworks included in the exhibition suggest that although new models of creating and co-existing are rapidly emerging, moving from resilience to transformation may only be achieved through developing a holistic view of our relationship with digital technologies – namely, through understanding both their dormant potentialities and their multiple black boxes.


Participating Artists:

  • Pat Badani
  • Gianluca Balla
  • Jennifer Gradecki and Derek Curry
  • Marika Grasso
  • Irini Kalaitzidi
  • Sam Kaufman
  • Jonathan Kimberley
  • Maria Mencia
  • Kat Mustatea
  • Triantafyllia Ntouroupi
  • El Putnam
  • Toni Sant and Enrique Tabone
  • Varvara & Mar

For more information please visit https://www.stanleypickergallery.org/events/main-events/drha-2022/

For more information about the Stanley Picker Gallery, please visit https://www.stanleypickergallery.org/about/

gallery

PAT BADANI

Bichi Project: Bichicuchitu & Bichicu-Chow

Date of production: 2019-2020
Medium: 3D computer animations shown as looped single channel video

Inspired by forms of animism, herbalism, panpsychism, and the care of sustenance networks, Badani’s 3D animations explore the intersectionality of the climate crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2019, a bio-based symbiotic interaction unfolded in Badani’s incubator when mold took over decomposing vegetables and fruits, creating trans-species assemblages. The DIY lab experiment established a discreet sustenance network between 3 actors (bio-sculpture material / mold and fungi / human facilitator), suggesting a system in which different bodies, organisms, and species were in the process of becoming with each other through resilience and transformation – inspiring “Bichicuchitu” and “Bichicu-Chow”.

Energy and matter, in the form of food, flow through an ecosystem and – for survival of sustenance networks – human and more-than-human populations need to interact in balance with each other. If connections between them become unbalanced, the likelihood of ecosystem collapse increases. The “Bichi” project underscores the need to re-establish healthy connections in sustenance networks by visualizing the vulnerable encounter between variable forms: living organisms, sculpture, photography, and 3D computer modeling. The passage from one media to the other in the constellation reveal differentiated yet interconnected aspects of artistic creation. They involve evolution of new forms that, through transition and transposition, unfold expressive intensity that intermingles their boundaries, underscoring the role of technology in fathoming emotion in new forms of visual fictions. In this regard, art is seen as a tool for mediation that makes possible reflexivity concerning complex phenomena in times of uncertainty about the future of food triggered by climate change and the food-chain disruptions caused by COVID-19.

3D animation frame of an abstract figure on black background

Gianluca Balla

Vuoto

Date of production: 03/08/22
Medium: Digital Painting

Vuoto (Italian word for Empty, Void, and Meaningless) is a self-portrait made in Adobe Photoshop as a digital painting. The painting is accompanied by a time lapse video edited in Adobe Premiere Pro which shows the painting process – the artist has embedded the noises of the London studio flat where he lives as a background track. The work is inspired by the isolation that Covid-19 imposed upon the population and its psychological consequences.

The creation of a traditional painting requires time, with each stroke gradually building up the final image; the result of this process does not show the temporal history of the painting and instead presents itself as a motionless arrangement of colour. As demonstrated by the video of how Vuoto was made, time lapses have the power to portray the painting process as a digital performance that develops in time under the observation of the viewer. The digital means allow for infinite possibilities and combinations thus every choice of the recorded artist epitomises the extemporaneous and often intuitive act of the artistic creation.

In this work, the artist acts as the painter, the performer, and the object of the performance. The painting is an adaptation of photographic and video references.

Jennifer Gradecki & Derek Curry

Infodemic

Date of production: 2020
Medium: Neural network-generated video

Infodemic is a neural network-generated video that questions the mediated narratives created by social media influencers and celebrities about the coronavirus. The speakers featured in the video are an amalgam of celebrities, influencers, politicians, and tech moguls that have contributed to the spread of misinformation about the coronavirus by either repeating false narratives, or developing technologies that amplify untrue content. The talking heads are generated using a conditional generative adversarial network (cGAN), which is used in some deepfake technologies. Unlike deepfake videos where a neural network is trained on images of a single person to produce a convincing likeness of that person saying things they did not say, we trained our algorithms on a corpora of multiple individuals simultaneously. The result is a talking head that morphs between different speakers or becomes a glitchy Frankensteinian hybrid of different people that contributed to the current infodemic speaking the words of academics, health professionals, or news anchors that are correcting false narratives or explaining the role of predictive content recommendation algorithms in the spread of online misinformation. The plastic, evolving, and unstable speakers in the video evoke the mutation of the coronavirus, the instability of truth, and the limits of knowledge.

Marika Grasso

Touched screens

Date of production: 2022
Medium: Touchscreen, gesso, acrylic, resin, cotton, silk, silicon, white powder

When a touchscreen is touched, lights and sensors respond, and an operating system starts working, interacting with our finger’s movements, following a set of fast decisions. The proposed artefact installation aims to suggest a reflection regarding the state of technological matter and their cultural impact both in daily life and in the wider cultural sphere. The intimate symbol of today’s digital interaction is the smartphone. It is an element of perpetual presence and capacity to adapt and perform according to our needs. Nonetheless, we also perform for the smartphone, we become an instrument of content creation through our voice, movement of the fingers, and the eyes. The human body’s intelligence extends beyond the hand and the brain, and it senses and expresses through new modes of communication, by touch.

The installation Touched Screens includes a set of artefacts shaped as the touchscreen, which could be placed in the gallery space in an unusual position, concerning the human body, such as the floor, ceiling, and the top portion of the wall. The touchscreens placements aim to create a distance between the person and the sleek disrupted surface of the screen. To suggest thinking by the senses, the distance between the eye, the hand, and the object, which extend to something that is not easily reachable.

Irini Kalaitzidi

AS UNCANNY AS A BODY

Date of production: 2021
Medium: Video

‘As Uncanny As a Body’ is a video work which documents the constant transition of a dancing body from an abled human state into a glitched, injured, unspecified one. Based on the development and use of a deep learning model, the visual data of a dancer are processed, and figures that manifest this in-between state are produced.

Although AI algorithms are predominantly used to deliver a better version of the human, this work chooses to employ AI as an injury-inducing method that generates multiple imperfect versions of the dance subject, expressions of the Other. What happens when AI is used not to optimise the dancer but rather to generate body types and movements lying beyond fixed standards and classifications? How does a poorly trained AI model perceive the body and how does it affect our perception of it? Does it remain human in all its smudges, cracks and distortions and is our gaze able to metabolise this generated otherness?

‘As Uncanny As a Body’ speculates upon AI-induced injuries with tenderness in order to discuss
trauma, to bridge the distance between familiarity and uncanniness, and to raise questions about the witnessing and acknowledgment of our gaze.

Concept, Choreography and Al: Irini Kalaitzidi
Performer: Maria Vourou
Filming: Stathis Doganis
Music: Nick Tsolis
Special Thanks: Daphne Dragona, Orestis Korakitis, Sakis Kostis and studio ΠΛΑΤΩ
‘As Uncanny As a Body’ was created during Irini’s participation in 2020–21 Stavros Niarchos
Foundation (SNF) Artist Fellowship Program by ARTWORKS (GR).

Sam Kaufman

Residue

Date of production: 2022
Medium: Steel, copper, aluminium, plastic, 3D printed filament, latex tubing, CT scan data, inkjet on paper

‘Residue’ operates on the relationship between digital post-production and the production of animals after their death. To post-produce is to enter into a particular relationship with time, to construct a speculative future after the fact. This installation consists of a re-photographed and mounted CT scan of the extinct thylacine (also known at the Tasmanian tiger) made available by researchers at the University of Melbourne. Renewed visibility through medical imaging and archival footage has been a major impetus for attempts to restore thylacine populations via gene editing. This thylacine is, quite literally, post-produced, archived in a simulation of visibility which has disappeared; it hovers in between appearance and disappearance, in-between being extant and extinct.

‘Residue’ considers this year’s DRHA conference theme of sustainability by asking what is at stake in sustaining nonhuman worlds and ecology in a simulated liveliness which no longer exists? Does ecological sustainability necessitate de-extinction, a restoration of a lost pastness or a (perhaps reluctant) embrace of post-ness? To live sustainable futures for both human and nonhuman beings, do we ultimately have an imperative to restore a distinct (and often fictional) backdrop of “nature” or do we “stay with the trouble”, as Donna Haraway would have it, and reimagine our ecological relationships in a post-natural world?

Data available at https://datadryad.org/stash/dataset/doi:10.5061/dryad.5h8k3

Jonathan KimberlEy

Diminished culture until we whitefellas decolonise ourselves.

Date of production: 2022
Medium: 3.5min 1080p HD Video

Diminished culture until we whitefellas decolonise ourselves, is a component of new work in development as part of an art-practice-as-research PhD titled, A Praxis of Treaty with International Country (2019 – 2023) | Australian National University & Kingston School of Art London.

As a descendent of a First Fleet convict from the UK who arrived on the continent of Australia in 1788, and subsequently as a free settler to lutruwita (Tasmania) in 1808 – the project reflects on a profound personal sense of loss of cultural knowledge within my own cultural Originary in the UK and Europe; and 30 years of decolonial transcultural art praxis in Australia.

A Praxis of Treaty with International Country is an enquiry into the contemporaneity of Originary (pre-historic) petroglyphs in the UK, through the transcultural lens of contemporary art praxis in Australia. The project seeks to decolonise the contemporaneity of neolithic Land Art (petroglyphs) in the UK, recognising anew what is arguably our most significant extant Originary transcultural art praxis.

Revisiting the virtually abandoned source code of Originary petroglyphs in the UK both artistically and as the core component of my research during 2019 and 2022 is vital in decolonising my own Originary as a whitefella artist in the 21st century.

Maria Mencia

Invisible Voices

Date of production: 2020
Medium: Digital media

Invisible Voices is one of the outcomes from the project ‘Memory, Victims, and Representation of the Colombian Conflict’, AHRC funded and undertaken in conjunction with an interdisciplinary team of experts working in different fields of research, to address the issue of the representation of the conflict and victims in Colombia’s 60-year-long conflict. Above all, it focuses on exploring and incentivising new means of awareness with regards to the self-representation of women victims.

As creative director I lead the research team to run co-creation workshops with members of the Ruta Pacífica de las Mujeres (RPM) a group which comprises 300 organisations of women from across Colombia, and from women from the smaller grassroots activist group of the Corporation of Zoscua in Boyacá. They were designed to give voice to the women in their participation in the construction of a collective memory through storytelling, production of creative practices and discussions about their own experience as victims of the Colombian armed conflict.

We created a digital application MVIC, for women to share their stories in writing, orally or through video, during and after the workshops. The app (Dejen su relato), Art(E)work and workshops are accessible through the documentary website.

The impact of this project was creating this amazing collaborative experience of exchange, learning and empowerment with the voices of black, indigenous, white, women of different ethnicities; fighters with resilience, dignity and strength to stand up every day to create a better, more equitable, fairer world, and with this, a new future for their families and communities.

Kat Mustatea

Voidopolis

Date of production: 2020-2021
Medium: printed book, two-channel video installation

Voidopolis is an enactment of loss and memory in the form of an augmented reality book made to disappear. The story is a loose retelling of Dante’s Inferno informed by the grim experience of wandering through NYC at the height of a pandemic. Instead of the poet Virgil, my guide through this hellish vision of New York City is a caustic hobo named Nikita. The text is generated without the letter ‘e’ using a modified GPT-2 text generator, while the images are created by algorithmically wiping humans from stock photography. Meant to culminate in loss, the book’s pages are garbled and can only be read with an AR app: after enough readings, these decay completely, and the printed book, with its garbled pages, remains as a leftover artifact.

Voidopolis was adapted from a series of Instagram posts from July 2020 through March 2021 that was ultimately deleted. Likewise designed to disappear, the images and words in the AR book decay just as memory would. The idea for this ‘decay’ is that it might work the way memory does, with partial glimpses and dream-like bits of language remaining even after an event has ended. By ultimately disappearing, this work makes a case for a collective amnesia that follows cataclysm.

Triantafyllia Ntouroupi

Greetings from the Deepworld

Date of production: 2021
Medium: digital print, 3D animation video, Augmented Reality applications, postcards

Greetings from Deepworld uses augmented reality to create an immersive environment which invites the users to reflect on their role as both spectators and participants of a global catastrophe. The postcards are a reminder of the transient nature of our existence and how we view our world as visitors.

Geographers, anthropologists, and sociologists who research disasters suggest that human practices, over long periods, enhance the materially destructive and socially disruptive capacities of geophysical and hydro-meteorological phenomena, technological malfunctions, and epidemics.

Today images of disaster are instantly delivered to our phones, turning catastrophe to a grotesque global spectacle. Artists often try to make sense of catastrophic experiences. The question is whether artworks inspire a sense of how catastrophe might be overcome; whether seeing others’ suffering will rouse us to the indignation and action, or instead desensitize us, reinforcing our indifference.

El Putnam

Emergent

Date of production: 2020-2022
Medium: Generative Animations

The body is the database of lived experience. Emergent is a generative media work that includes animations, sound compositions, and live video processing, with some animations driven by data collected from a consumer fitness tracker worn since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. As a portrait of experience of the COVID-19 pandemic through the data body (as both body of data and body producing data), Emergent engages with the memories of the flesh, becoming the impetus for aesthetic encounters through digital performance. Instead of focusing on the intended use of the fitness tracker as a technical object, Emergent draws attention to the gaps in data collection, goals not met, and the capacity of physical activity to exceed sensory quantification and collection.

Emergent has been developed with support from an Arts Council of Ireland Agility Award.

Toni Sant & Enrique Tabone

Naked Data

Date of production: 2022
Medium: Wikidata, video and plexiglass

Naked Data adopts an inquiring data model, applied to 30 prehistoric artifacts and fragments depicting female bodies, which are exhibited permanently at the National Museum of Archaeology in Valletta, Malta.

In 2019, Digital Curation Lab Director Toni Sant and the artist Enrique Tabone started collaborating on a research project exploring the visualization of specific datasets from Wikidata for artistic practice. This research stems from a digital curation project conducted by Tabone on the women artists whose works are in the University of Salford’s Art Collection. Through data analysis, employing Wikidata tools, this work reveals how previously under-represented individuals can be given greater public visibility.

Following on from an initial presentation delivered at the DRHA 2021 Conference in Berlin, this work consists primarily of a video installation, depicting aspects of data art as embodied in the prehistoric female figurines of Malta. These are now captured as open data in the Wikidata repository and visualised through experimental art practice, along with a physical object derived from the artistic interpretation of the data visualization contained in the video.

This ongoing research project is presented at DRHA 2022 with support from Wikimedia Community Malta and the University of Salford’s Digital Curation Lab.

abstract glass art black and white

Varvara & Mar

Keep Smiling

Date of production: 2022
Medium: Interactive online performance / net.art

Keep Smiling is an online interactive experience in the form of a job interview conducted by an ‘AI agent’. The agent asks the participant to smile, to smile even more, and to count objects she/he can see through a nearby window while continuing to smile (the system intends to extract the maximum profit from the human participant). Throughout this interaction the participant’s face is detected via a webcam and the smile is rated against a happiness meter. As soon as the participant’s smile rating drops below average, she/he is fired and the interview is terminated. The artwork draws attention to the highly automated and monitored world in which the responsibility for making decisions has been handed to machines and algorithms, and our emotions are evaluated without our consent. By interacting with the artwork we can experience just how unreliable an emotion detection algorithm can be despite its widespread deployment in our everyday lives. The artwork incorporates a number of elements from the AI industry, illustrating how decision-making and labour culture have been transformed by technology and the absurdity of basing key elements of this culture on the extraction of data and behavioural monitoring of subjects.

© All images: Courtesy of the artist(s)

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