LIKE: A Performance Series

June 27—Jeremy Bailey, Marisa Olson, Rick Silva

July 7—BFFA3AE, Duncan Malashock, Nick Demarco and Justin Kemp, Michelle Proksell

July 14—Ann Hirsch 

July 21—Genevieve Belleveau

August 1—Billy Rennekamp, David Bernstein and Nicole Demby

 

As computers and digital technologies become an overwhelming part of daily life, there has been a turn in contemporary art to performance.  The embrace of liveness, shared space, the body, and community is a mode of resistance to the hyper-mediated, simulated existence technology creates.  Even among artists whose practices develop online and use computers as their primary medium, one sees a need to reflect upon these technologies and experiences offline.

The title of this series—LIKE—is taken from the popular Facebook “Like” button, a thumbs-up icon one clicks to indicate approval of anything on Facebook.  “Liking” mirrors the tension one sees with technology, in general.  On the one hand, it quickly and efficiently allows interpersonal communication.  On the other hand, it’s a poor stand-in for actual human contact.  The novelist Jonathan Franzen recently described "the transformation, courtesy of Facebook, of the verb 'to like' from a state of mind to an action that you perform with your computer mouse, from a feeling to an assertion of consumer choice. And liking, in general, is commercial culture’s substitute for loving."

The performances in this series, which represent a broad range of formal and conceptual strategies, are not anti-technology per se; however, there is a recognition that to better understand what life online has become, one may need to step away from the computer and meet others offline.  There is a critical exploration of media culture, new technologies, and the virtual self as well as an embrace of communal action, shared experience, and play.