Digital​ ​Bodies:​ ​
Banz​ ​&​ ​Bowinkel​
with​ Tolouse ​Low​ ​Trax

Sep. 5 –
Oct. 5,
2017

Friedemann​ ​Banz​ ​and​ ​Giulia​ ​Bowinkel​ ​with Tolouse​ ​Low​ ​Trax,​ ​​Rushing​ ​Into​ ​Water​, 2016.​ ​Courtesy​ ​of​ ​the​ ​artists.

Rushing​ ​into​ ​Water​​ ​is​ ​a​ ​collaboration​ ​between​ ​Friedemann​ ​Banz​ ​and​ ​Giulia​ ​Bowinkel​ ​and​ ​Detlef Weinrich,​ ​better​ ​known​ ​as​ ​Tolouse​ ​Low​ ​Trax,​ ​a​ ​member​ ​of​ ​the​ ​music​ ​group​ ​Kreidler​ ​and resident​ ​DJ​ ​at​ ​the​ ​Salon​ ​des​ ​Amateurs,​ ​a​ ​legendary​ ​electronic​ ​music​ ​club​ ​in​ ​Düsseldorf.​ ​The song​ ​featured​ ​in​ ​this​ ​video,​ ​written​ ​by​ ​Weinrich,​ ​is​ ​inspired​ ​by​ ​a​ ​scene​ ​in​ ​Ken​ ​McMullen’s​ ​1983 film​ ​​Ghost​ ​Dance​,​ ​where​ ​the​ ​philosopher​ ​Jacques​ ​Derrida​ ​argues​ ​that​ ​ghosts​ ​formerly​ ​residing in​ ​nature​ ​(trees,​ ​stones,​ ​et​ ​cetera)​ ​today​ ​find​ ​new​ ​territories​ ​in​ ​human​ ​technologies—and​ ​that​ ​as we​ ​interact​ ​with​ ​these​ ​technologies,​ ​we​ ​become​ ​ghosts​ ​and​ ​create​ ​ghosts.​ ​For​ ​the​ ​artists,​ ​this thesis​ ​beautifully​ ​describes​ ​contemporary​ ​human​ ​communication​ ​and​ ​the​ ​new​ ​perspectives​ ​that arise​ ​from​ ​it,​ ​such​ ​as​ ​artificial​ ​intelligence.

The​ ​video​ ​features​ ​three​ ​characters,​ ​all​ ​of​ ​whom​ ​are​ ​avatars​ ​for​ ​one​ ​of​ ​the​ ​artists:​ ​a smoke-emitting​ ​ghost,​ ​a​ ​technoid​ ​female​ ​figure,​ ​and​ ​an​ ​archaic​ ​priest.​ ​Each​ ​performs​ ​specific movements​ ​derived​ ​from​ ​data​ ​recorded​ ​from​ ​the​ ​artists’​ ​bodies​ ​while​ ​dancing​ ​in​ ​a​ ​studio session.​ ​Prominently​ ​present​ ​in​ ​the​ ​video​ ​is​ ​a​ ​sculpture​ ​of​ ​Mercury,​ ​the​ ​ancient​ ​god​ ​of​ ​trade​ ​and communication,​ ​who​ ​is​ ​constantly​ ​changing,​ ​switching​ ​materials,​ ​and​ ​exploding​ ​and reassembling​ ​as​ ​a​ ​symbol​ ​of​ ​the​ ​cycle​ ​of​ ​cultural​ ​rise​ ​and​ ​decline.

Digital​ ​Bodies

In​ ​a​ ​time​ ​of​ ​embedded​ ​lives​ ​and​ ​networked​ ​culture,​ ​where​ ​the​ ​screen​ ​acts​ ​as​ ​a​ ​mediator between​ ​the​ ​self​ ​and​ ​perceived​ ​reality,​ ​technology​ ​has​ ​ostensibly​ ​become​ ​an​ ​extension​ ​of​ ​the body,​ ​changing​ ​our​ ​relationship​ ​to​ ​space,​ ​ourselves,​ ​and​ ​others.​ D​​ igital​ ​Bodies​​ ​is​ ​a​ ​one-year program​ ​that​ ​features​ ​videos​ ​by​ ​artists​ ​who​ ​use​ ​and​ ​manipulate​ ​digital​ ​technologies—mainly computer-generated​ ​images,​ ​signs,​ ​and​ ​systems​ ​sourced​ ​from​ ​digital​ ​platforms—to​ ​reflect​ ​on how​ ​these​ ​technologies​ ​have​ ​impacted​ ​our​ ​everyday​ ​lives​ ​and​ ​changed​ ​the​ ​ways​ ​we​ ​relate​ ​to the​ ​world.​ ​Given​ ​our​ ​current​ ​state​ ​of​ ​constant​ ​digital​ ​expansion​ ​and​ ​acceleration,​ ​these​ ​works express​ ​the​ ​pervasiveness​ ​and​ ​indispensability​ ​of​ ​digital​ ​culture​ ​in​ ​shaping​ ​our​ ​daily interactions.

Digital​ ​Bodies​​ ​is​ ​organized​ ​by​ ​the​ ​Eli​ ​and​ ​Edythe​ ​Broad​ ​Art​ ​Museum​ ​at​ ​Michigan​ ​State University​ ​and​ ​curated​ ​by​ ​Carla​ ​Acevedo-Yates​ ​and​ ​Steven​ ​L.​ ​Bridges,​ ​Assistant​ ​Curators. Support​ ​for​ ​this​ ​exhibition​ ​is​ ​provided​ ​by​ ​the​ ​Alan​ ​and​ ​Rebecca​ ​Ross​ ​Endowed​ ​Exhibition​ ​Fund and​ ​the​ ​MSU​ ​Broad’s​ ​general​ ​exhibitions​ ​fund.