4k made me sick
Laura Yuile & Christopher MacInnes
9 - 30 June 2017
Jan 19 2017 1:30 PM
L: I’ve been thinking a lot about how invisible "energies" within our environment can affect us (pollution, signals, etc), and how we are sold various paths or philosophies towards wellbeing. I was looking a fair bit at Feng Shui - how it's been Westernized and turned into something to sell highly priced consultations to wealthy businesses and home owners; or - at the lower end - is used to sell plastic ornaments such as small water features.It's also now spoken about a lot in regards to digital space and digital wellbeing, with advice offered on things like how to arrange your computer desktop, etc. I'm thinking mostly along the lines of how the body is affected by the environments (physical and virtual) it moves through on a daily basis, and where there is leakage and spill-over between one kind of space and another (for example, our homes now becoming workplaces due to the networked devices we use; or how social media trends for various food items, like avocados, has a real impact upon the physical landscape due to demand).
Jan 21 2017 5:13 PM
C: I had been reading a lot about Feng-Shui too, but in relation to city planning. For example, the bay of Hong Kong brings wealth because of it's shape or the layout of escalators in buildings bring power. This started me off thinking about a kind of invisible energy too. I was thinking about how inanimate infrastructures become filled with these kind of unpredictable energies that course through a logical system to produce erratic results in the real world. I had connected this to how the internet is constructed from these ancient materials like minerals, oils, plastics, metals. I felt like the crazy behaviour of online communities was like some kind of primordial rage seeping out of crushed up dinosaur bones and into the network...or something.
Anyway, I guess to start I’ll explain a little about where I left off from my last show: I was looking at the material infrastructure of the network that supports the internet. Basically, whatever rhetoric you might read about how the internet has so much potential (I’m not saying it doesn’t) and should be open and free to all etc. etc. runs into a fundamental problem when you start examining the material, industrial and infrastructural elements supporting it. At the heart of it the network is pretty much solely owned by a handful of US corporations. I was interested in portraying this old, dirty, industrial form of corporate power and pitting it against the glib marketing spiel from their websites, which out of context reveals something a little more sinister.
I won’t elaborate here but the two ideas cross over for me because it’s this gap in our understanding where strange things start happening. Specifically there’s this idea that religion/spiritualism is a form of technology, in that techniques (ritual, ceremony) are utilised in order to access some higher form of knowledge (information, data). In this sense there’s also a religious/spiritual element to our relationship with technology. This (I think) is what I’m really interested in at the moment. I love this mystical, reverent, over-hopeful reading of the internet and the banal truth of it as some kind of bureaucratic, corporate office-complex-cum-planetary shopping centre.
I kind of feel like this is maybe the point where we cross-over too? It’s a similar reading as your thinking around digital “wellness” and the monetisation of immaterial commodities. It particularly calls to mind this app called Headspace which is for mindfulness training, but starts trying to charge you to sit in silence for 10 minutes and meditate...which obviously you can’t do without 3G and an iPhone.... :-|
I guess what’s interesting here is how corporate interest has so aesthetically and linguistically infected the optimistic ideology of the internet, which I think points to a larger conversation around global corporations as something similar to Lem's apsychic ocean: not malevolent, but not benevolent and certainly beyond our control. In a way it’s not that something changed, but more that global business is wearing the skin of the decentralised creative activity of the network. It’s like some kind of liquid presence seeping into the gaps of a culture and becoming it. Does this make sense??
May 20 2017 7:19 PM
L: I think actually this notion of the smart home is what the video is moving towards to me, with some of the language and statements being both applicable to Feng Shui guidance and smart home promises.
And to further the shift of power I mentioned before, I’ve been thinking about the implications this has for privacy, And how at home we are now kind of “in public” thanks to all the networked devices we have or could have; whilst outside we can walk around in our own private world thanks to the same devices. So the domestic space becomes something else, and will continue to evolve with smart technology until (in perhaps the worst-case scenario) there is no privacy at all and every step we take and word we utter within our own home is monitored. And the things that hold our “privacy”, are the platforms.
In the months leading up to their joint exhibition at arebyte LASER, Christopher MacInnes and Laura Yuile have been collaborating remotely on ideas, concepts and work. The pairing of the two artists seeks to form cross-overs of practice, with overarching themes of commodity, bureaucracy, privacy and the inner workings of technology, as well as ideas of what it means to form a “collaborative process”.
4k made me sick is part of arebyte LASER's 2017 programme titled hotel generation - a series of exhibitions by a generation of young artists from around the UK, all responding to either contemporary ordinaryism, information overload, collective practice or reacting to the 'extreme present'.
Laura Yuile is an artist based in London. Recent exhibitions include Homesick, T-Space, Milan; A Place For You To Dream, Republic, London; Ludicrously Ideal and Beautifully Placed, Generator,
Dundee; SculpturParcours, The Wiener Art Foundation at Parallel, Vienna; and World Interiors, Savoy Centre for Glasgow International, Glasgow. She has undertaken residencies with Space / The White Building, London and Temporary Art Platform, Beirut. In 2015 she was an Associate Artist at Open School East and will soon graduate from the MFA programme at Goldsmiths. Forthcoming projects include a residency in Beijing as a recipient of the Red Mansion Award, and the group exhibition, Habits of Care, curated by Helena Reckitt at Blackwood Gallery, Toronto.
Christopher MacInnes is an artist based in Glasgow. Recent exhibitions include ILLOGICAL CORE, Radio Borealis, Bergen; On The Ground, Perth Museum and Art Gallery, Perth; I Know Amy: Loom Loom Loom and Gwenan International, Queen’s Park bowling Club, Glasgow; and Future Artifact, Dose Projects, New York. He has been awarded residencies, awards and funding with Hope Scott Trust and Creative Scotland, has been resident artist at Cockenzie House, Port Seton as part of Art Rooms 2014, and curated SIMSTIM as part of Open House Festival, Glasgow. He graduated from the Glasgow School of Art in 2012.