Mediums and Messengers

February 16, 2023 – March 17, 2023
Bannister Gallery

600 Mount Pleasant Avenue
Providence, RI

Image courtesy of the event organizer.

Image courtesy of the event organizer.

Mediums and Messengers, curated by Danni Shen, is a group exhibition of six artists and collectives, Beatrice Glow, He Kunlin, lololol, Yuri Pattison, Tiffany Sia, and Frank WANG Yefeng, which takes a critical and experimental approach to “new media” by drawing out the material, historical, and geopolitical formations that underlie various technological interfaces as well as their aesthetics. By working through modes and platforms such as Fiverr, Google Moon, interstellar travelogue, anti-travelogue, the doom scroll, war and time-keeping technologies, to online Daoist exercises, martial arts, and scriptures, such works examine how information is both shielded and revealed through various forms of production.

In 1964, Marshall McLuhan infamously wrote “the medium is the message,” to express how a means of communication itself could tell us more about structural societal changes than the information that it carried. As this “Information Age” hurtles toward what seems to be an inevitable technological singularity (and future) ruled by big tech, surveillance, artificial intelligence, cognitive capitalism, and mass media–the question of “technology” surges to the fore as a highly contentious one. Through artmaking, how can we think about technology in different ways beyond the ever “new”, omnipresent, digital stream that carries us away, disembodied and out of control?

It is thus at the precarious intersection of medium and message that the diverse artists in this exhibition also intervene. Mediums and Messengers also acknowledges the different divisions of space, time, bodies, labor, social relations, and culturally-specific rituals that are encoded into technological existence as well as history. As Matteo Pasquinelli writes on the algorithm for example, “it is an abstract diagram that emerges from the repetition of a process…it is not a rule that is invented from above but emerges from below.” It is from this heterogenous, often unseen “below”, that we might think about how to take back power and generate more diverse techniques of knowledge. At the heart of this show is also an invitation to consider different approaches to “new media” art that complicate the binary of virtual and physical worldmaking.

Dates: February 16-March 17, 2023
Curator and Artist Talk, in the gallery – Thursday, February 16th, 4-5 PM
Opening Reception – Thursday, February 16th, 5-7 PM