Art as radar acts as “an early alarm system,” as it were, enabling us to discover social and psychic targets in lots of time to prepare to cope with them.*1. These were the words of media theorist Marshall McLuhan, writing in Understanding Media with sharp insight in the 1960s and predicting the social revolution that new technology would bring. Half a century has now passed since McLuhan published his important work, and the Internet has permeated our society and new technological innovations like artificial intelligence are rapidly advancing. “Any technology tends to create a new human environment.”
The complex relationship between image and reality has long been one of the most important topics in art.
In this exhibition, the National Museum shows works from the last four decades by close to forty prominent artists. Using a variety of approaches, they all address the surfeit of images we see all around us.
The visual deluge that supposedly represents our lives, our times, our world. News clips, holiday snaps, flickers from the depths of the internet. A fragmented intermediate world, half illusion, half reality. Excerpts and selections. And in the midst of it all: glimpses of truth. Images with the power to change the world.
Liquidity Inc. (2014) is a new acquisition to the ICA’s collection and is on view at the museum for the first time. As suggested by the title, this video sculpture uses water as its guiding theme, and has particular resonance at the ICA’s waterfront location. Liquidity Inc. takes as a point of departure the story of Jacob Wood, a former financial analyst who lost his job during the 2008 economic recession and decided to turn his hobby in mixed martial arts into a career. Steyerl follows actor and martial artist Bruce Lee’s dictum to “be shapeless, formless, like water,” turning “liquidity” into a trope fluid enough to speak about everything from the weather to water as material resource, to the circulation of information and assets. Projected onto a double-sided screen in front of a wave-like ramp structure, Liquidity Inc. is a captivating parable of economic crisis and contemporary culture that is by turns playful and poignant.
The title of the exhibition, Electronic Superhighway, comes from a term invented in 1974 by South Korean videoart artist Nam June Paik who realized the potential of global connections through technology. Ordered in reverse chronological order, Electronic Superhighway begins with works created at the turn of the millennium and ends with Experiments in Art and Technology (EAT), a landmark event of 1966. Spanning a period of 50 years, from 2016 to 1966, moments arise in the history of art and the Internet as the exhibition travels backwards.
Like a Moth to a Flame, it is the title of the great exhibition project realized in collaboration with OGR-Officine Grandi Riparazioni and Foundation Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, which will be inaugurated on November 3 in the offices of the two Turin Institutes. As a flame moth is an ambitious project, signed by three international exceptional designers, called to work together for the first time in confronting the city of Turin and its important artistic heritage: Tom Eccles, director of the Center for Curatorial Studies of Bard College of New York, Mark Rappolt, Editor-in-Chief of the English Art Review, and British artist Liam Gillick.
In an exhibition filling two floors in the Museum, 28 Swedish and international artists explore and challenge Öyvind Fahlström’s ideas on manipulation and theatricality. Four historic works by Fahlström define the playing field for the exhibition, which takes place in three zones: the main exhibition hall on Floor 4, the spaces connecting both floors, and the exhibition halls on the lower ground floor.