- Emer Grant
An exhibition by Simon Denny, Holly Herndon and Metahaven with an accompanying catalogue designed by P.O.M’s Through engaging with technological cultures to speculate on relationships to post nationhood rhetoric, these artists work with design to explore the concept of fiction as a critical force. A political paradigm of dimensionality appears, though not solely revealed through an encounter with the aesthetic. Simon Denny’s sculptures express the momentum of speculative territory, forecasting fictive futures and the death of geography. A promotional video for Bitcoin invites us to “imagine another world”. Through graphic signs and expressions of materiality, sculptures of customized hardware pay homage to the tech sector. Borrowing a visual language from the world of competitive gaming, the predatory land-grab logic of the politically decentralized, encrypted infrastructure of possible self-governing networks is put on display. Denny’s film works document interlocutor participation in Berlin’s start up culture, a scene of mobile applications and tech industry networking events, populated by the digerati and technocratic elite. The shared language of techno-utopianism suggests a provocative affiliation to the place renowned as a haven for artists and musicians.
An installation of Holly Herndon’s song ‘Interference’ with a music video by Metahaven centrally locates the human being in this contemporary moment. Industrial textures create an audio collage across unexpected samples that disjunctively harmonize Herndon’s voice and lyrics. Throughout the video a (broken) blank flag hovers over borders, marking a dystopic post-geographical, geopolitical landscape. Layers of graphics and subtitles interrupt Herdon’s portrait to compose perspective. Data usage is scrutinized through a language of affect and control, converging in a new decentralized culture-industry. Two arms struggling to maintain their grip amidst an animation of Guy Debord’s and Alice Becker-Ho’s Kreigspeil (Game of War) implicate the feeling over being overwhelmed, yet through strategy and collectivity, there is an exit.
The dual staging of the visual and auditory across the exhibition invites the works to face their reliance on an assumed criticality. This exhibition facilitates a space where dance music and technological visions of future economies are interrupted by sculptural provocations and the museological reality of a non-virtual encounter. The artists chosen here adopt entire cultural logics whilst exploring digital forms, making their work both legible to digital communities and about them, suggesting where their own value might be extracted, redirected, and redeployed.