EYES ON CULTURE #025
11 October 2023
An Out of Control Goodbye Party
EYES ON: Will Pappenheimer’s Proxy, 5-WM2A
In 2014 Will Pappenheimer was commissioned to create a virtual designer drug for that year’s Whitney Gala/museum building relocation party. Pappeneheimer, an artist working on the border of the physical-digital and a founding member of the Manifest.AR group (click the link and read its incredible manifesto, well worth it), created Proxy, 5-WM2A — an AR experience to be consumed by all guests in attendance.
Through guests’ screens, the space of the museum was transformed. Loud colours and wild light aberrations covered the field of sight. The perspective of a 90s club kid was offered up to help celebrate the night.
WHY WE’RE WATCHING:
It’s fun. The principle of a museum sanctioned, mind-altering drug is cheeky and silly and showcases the digital layers of our everyday experience.
Best of all is the description of this drug-fuelled institutional experience as intentionally “dissociative”. Like digital Ketamine therapy, it provided fantastical virtual add-ons to help guests “dissociate from its iconic Breuer location and transition to a new building.”
New Lexicons for Embodiment
EYES ON: Barbara Sanchez Kane’s NYC exhibit, New Lexicons for Embodiment
Barbara Sanchez Kane’s solo exhibit, New Lexicons for Embodiment at NYC’s Kurimanzutto gallery navigates the “intertwined worlds of fashion and art”, exploring the “clothed body as the interphase with which we experience the world.”
The work employs traditional fashion practices such as weaving, pattern making, and molding to produce wearable sculptures that investigate the craft of clothing production and how that craft enables the performance of identity.
WHY WE’RE WATCHING:
“The thing is that these clothes are unstable; they are in a constant state of transformation. As soon as one speaks of them, they’re already turning into something else. Yes, mutant clothes. No.” - Luis Felipe Fabre
To us, Sanchez Kane’s work acts as a remarkable example of the collision of art and fashion.
Physical works that claim to be on the border of fashion and art are too often just clothes with a sculptural edge. Sometimes it feels like the “art” label is used to justify the extreme discomfort of a worn item or an item’s altogether complete lack of functionality.
This feels different. Sanchez’s objects exist between plausible wearability and pure sculpture all within one viewing experience. Part of that comes from Sanchez’s repurposing of traditional objects in the “garments.” With the integration of these objects (the belts are an obvious example), one can just as easily see those individual objects themselves as one can their assemblage as a garment.
This repurposing and recontextualizing of everyday objects into garments made us think about what the equivalent might look like in the digital world. What is a digital readymade? Can this approach to fashion-making find its equal in the digital?
Online Philosophy of the Self
EYES ON: Kyle McDonald’s Going Public
Following a 2013 Twitter update that allowed anyone to receive direct messages to their Twitter accounts from anyone, the artist Kyle McDonlald decided to make use of the new feature to explore the bounds of online identity.
Through the project “Going Public”, he decided to put his own identity in the hands of the public by allowing all direct messages sent to his account to be automatically published on his profile as if they came from him.
On the experiment, McDonald writes, “There’s a strange connection between our “self” and our body. The connection is assumed, because they’re difficult to separate. But the only thing connecting our identity to our online persona is the knowledge of a password. What happens when we break that connection and dilute our online identity?”
In decentralizing his online identity, McDonald digs into the nature of that identity.
WHY WE’RE WATCHING:
When first learning of this project, our immediate reaction was fear — fear for what people might have written in McDonald’s direct messages. It’s a ballsy move to give out control of your online presentation; it’s a move that could cause offense or embarrassment.
Our knee-jerk response—the fear of being misrepresented or misunderstood—brings to light some fundamental characteristics of the online self, like how much it’s founded on other people’s view of it.
In a much less serious, more internet way, “Going Public” experiments with modern philosophy’s blockbuster question of the Self.