In Real Life: Fia Backström, Steven Baldi, Barbara Bloom, Liz Deschenes, Craig Kalpakjian, Brandon Lattu

In Real Life: Fia Backström, Steven Baldi, Barbara Bloom, Liz Deschenes, Craig Kalpakjian, Brandon Lattu
April 26–June 8, 2019
Opening reception: Friday, April 26, 6–8PM
(Two LIMITEDs pass in quick succession.) Lah Lah’s at the park again. Sakura in Tokyo. Why is Dean brandishing weapons? Sea Ranch. Rosemont has a high school now. Nice pool. (Board). Babyrattlesnake’s rainbow sheep cross body. Another backpack with many pockets advertisement. Watch the time elapsed video twice. “It’s not relevant.” Karaoke slideshow. Guess you had to be there. Max laughing in an oversized bath towel. Old Master’s drawing. Mumia Abu Jamal. Fuzzy image of a panel seated across a stage. Must order that book. Must visit the library. Must read that book at the library. Wheels up. Japanese otter splashes around an inflatable pool. Androgynous teenager. Meme. A memorial image. The recently deceased smiles broadly. Soy’s adding flowers to her salads. Sponsored ad. Baby’s first install. Squid. More 90s nostalgia. Rolling hills at sunset. That video of the plastic straw being extracted from the sea turtle’s bloody nose. Text message screenshot. Abstract painting. Another sponsored ad. Magazine editor attends the FW shows. Enlightened aphorism in handwritten font. Politician plants a garden. Anonymous condos near the Hauptbanhof. Russian raccoons. (Shit. There’s that ugly grocery store parking lot again. Where am I?)
After dropping off the dry cleaning, I walk back to the building to gather grocery bags. Near the entrance I walk by a young mother who is adjusting a small child’s shoe. As I pass the child calls out for “mama.” The mother explains: “I’m your mama.” Poor kid. It’s Brooklyn and I’m just another brunette in sunglasses and a Breton shirt. Monoprix Luxe uniforms suit 24/7, live/work temporalities. Trash (check). Recycling (check). Compost (check). Groceries (check). Where’s that recipe? So many windows open. Alex is in China. Skip the architecture. Show me the food. Sponsored ad. Jon went out. Temperature. Soundtrack. Foamy waves crash at Rockaway. Sponsored ad. Begum might be my only friend who wears pressed shirts on beach holidays. Another podcasting vegan with a twenty-slide story. I should just get the cookbook. Nice weather for a rooftop party. Lots of balloons. Must be a wedding. Too many balloons. (Wait. That child looks familiar. Who am I following? I just saw them downstairs. I don’t know them but I guess I follow them. Do they live here? Where are they?)

In 1983, Flusser predicted that “the camera will prove to be the ancestor of all those apparatuses that are in the process of robotizing all aspects of our lives, from our most public acts to one’s most innermost thoughts, feelings, and desires.” In more recent considerations about our present media scape, commercial stock images abound (Crosby, DIS), posting to social media has been recast as a painterly practice (Kneale), and our engagement with algorithmically sequenced images is likened to “entertainment systems that combine game controllers with interactive video or computer display” (Relyea), i.e. less cinematic, more cybernetic.

While the attention economy and its delivery systems figure heavily into conversations about media effects, ambivalence about the relationship between digital captures and photographic precedents emerges. What is the relationship of a photograph to a site, to a technology, to a source? Which formal strategies/critical approaches have artists deployed to respond to new forms of dislocation? Whether concrete, digital, painterly, sculptural, architectural, scientific, or Neomaterial (Paul), how effectively can physical artwork address the processes of immaterial dispersal? Can photo-based practices issue a rejoinder to the logic of the ‘feed’? What are the Contra-net (Blas) potentials of objects, performances, and happenings that demand embodied viewership? Let’s find out. Visit IRL.

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