artists: Onyx Andra Ellena Basada sean chamberlain Mandy Messina Charlie Miller Melaney Mitchell
curated by: Kyle Cohlmia, PNCA curatorial fellow
Compared to the limits and boundaries of physical spaces, our virtual realities feel open-ended, a limitless experience of searching, clicking and scrolling. Site indexes, a reprieve from the often exhausting act of research, provide users with the opportunity to explore the internet using a list of curated databases.
Categorized either alphabetically or topically, these inventories seem comprehensive, listing synonyms of words and concepts as “see also,” under main categories (e.g. “See also: Manet,” under impressionist painting).
But what happens when the “see alsos” limit users to researching only predetermined, canonized content? What topics are not mentioned or erased from our digital and personal lexicons when interacting with these indexes? And further, what is the relationship of digital art to the common site search?
Michael Conner of Rhizome writes, “we use the metaphor of the object boundary to help guide conversations about the role that a given software or network context might play in relation to a given work.” If digital art is without material boundaries, then “objecthood is only the performance of objecthood, and the boundary is not a given, but a variable.” These variable performances, while not new to the study of digital art, when examined in context of the user, become more expansive.
As the current global pandemic necessitates the use of the internet for many in-person activities, the user’s role in relation to technology becomes, like digital art, more and more performative and excessively variable.
(see also:) variable performances of a well-designed site index examines the variability of performances in digital space. Artworks such as “Femi(net)” by Melaney Mitchell use digital tools to expand on representations of gender within the virtual realm, and “Stuck inside” by Charlie Miller adopts 3D animation to simulate the effects of COVID-19 on our relationship to nature. While site searches have the ability to provide a one-stop-shop for research, (see also:) seeks to call-out the homogeneity within these databases, further examining the variable performances within new media art as well the user’s performance in the digital realm, disrupting the act of passively clicking on link after link after link.
Please join us for an artists’ panel discussion on Saturday, October 17 at 6 pm!
Ellena Basada is a writer and researcher based in Portland and Berlin.
sean chamberlain is an artist currently living in Portland, OR. chamberlain’s studio practice largely focuses on identity production, the ethics of the second self, and the constructions of our IRL/URL worlds. This work predominantly manifests through performance environments, probing the conditions of classification, space, information, and output. Additionally, chamberlain's work is activated through writing, curation, design, and critical engagement.
Non-binary South African artist living and working in Oklahoma. Concerned with access and entertainment. Currently working exclusively on comics and drawings.
I am a multimedia artist with an emphasis in animation that utilizes 3D software. The goal of my work is to be vivid, yet grotesque and thoughtful. Glimpses of a story, that in some cases is still unfurling.
This year I'm working to combine VR and 3D animation to build spaces meant for exploration. Especially during this time of being in isolation and quarantine I am incredibly inspired to make spaces to be consumed in home, or brought to communities who have limited access to activities; I want to create experiences that aren't easily accessible.
Melaney Ann Mitchell is an artist, educator, writer, and organizer from the Midwest. Mitchell was a studio resident at The Drugstore in midtown Kansas City, Missouri. She was the Founder and Senior Editor of Informality Blog, an online platform for documenting the conversation about Kansas City contemporary art and culture. In addition, she was a Co-Director/Curator at a PLUG Projects and the Director of Subterranean Gallery. Her curatorial, writing, and visual art practices all revolve around the intersection of our lives with digital culture and its impact on our identities.
Kyle Cohlmia was born in Stillwater, OK. She received a B.A. in Art History and Italian with a minor in English from the University of Kansas and an M.A. in Instruction and Curriculum at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Kyle has worked at various art museums and galleries including the Denver Art Museum, Oklahoma Hall of Fame, and most recently, as Curator of Exhibitions for the Melton Gallery at the University of Central Oklahoma. She is a previous fellow of Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition’s Art Writing and Curatorial Fellowship and has written for various art publications including Art Focus, Art 365, and Oregon Art Watch. Kyle is currently living in Portland, OR, working toward her second M.A. in Critical Studies at Pacific Northwest College of Art. She is a current curatorial fellow at PNCA, tutors students in writing and writes creatively. website: www.kylecohlmia.com