REVIEW: Art in the Age of the Internet

Walking into the UMMA’s Art in the Age of the Internet exhibit is an assault to the senses. Before you enter the gallery you can hear the art as a cacophony of deep booms, high pitched squeals, and slightly disturbing sounds weaving between them. This is the experience the curator wants you to have in this exhibit because the Internet is an assault to the senses. Everywhere you turn in this relatively small exhibit space there is bright and often disturbing art surrounding you. This exhibit is more than just a few dozen paintings or sculptures, it is an interactive experience which requires you to engage it. Some pieces engage you in very literal ways, requiring you to put on headphones to listen to videos, tracking your movements, or requiring you to interact with their piece to experience the art. The gallery was organized into sections with themes. One corner focused on surveillance and the dangers it holds. This section included a digital eye with an infrared sensor which followed you across the room. Another piece was a router in a thick plexiglass box which allowed you to browse the internet anonymously. Another section focused on video games. This portion of the exhibit showed the various applications of video games with one piece using old fashioned video games on multiple screens to create a landscape while another piece exhibited the simulation video games the military uses to train soldiers. My two favorite pieces were very different in nature. The first was a video which played in a dark room in the corner and was responsible for the thrumming bass that shook the room. This video featured a desktop screen with hundreds of different pages being pulled up featuring videos and images explaining the origin of the universe while a piece of music composed in conjunction with the piece played. The piece continuously returned to video footage of a man with taxidermy birds of various breeds and a woman drawing circles. The video was mesmerizing in a way that felt slightly off and even a bit disturbing. The other piece that I felt most drawn to was a 3-D printed sculpture of an artist whose work was featured alongside it. The sculpture featured an iridescent, greenish, female-presenting, naked person lounging on their side with long hair. On closer inspection, the figure was hiding male genitals behind a bent knee. The sculpture was meant to draw from the artists self-portrait which was featured in my preview. In this image the artist is painted a bright green with yellow box braids, kneeling on the ground. I still have many questions about these two pieces. I would highly suggest that any and everyone catch this exhibit before it leaves April 8th.

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