Digital​ ​Bodies:​ ​
Andrew​ ​Norman​ ​Wilson

Dec. 5 –
Dec. 31,
2017

Andrew​ ​Norman​ ​Wilson,​ ​​Ode​ ​to​ ​Seekers 2012​,​ ​2016.​ ​Courtesy​ ​the​ ​artist.

Ode​ ​to​ ​Seekers​ ​2012​​ ​(2016)​ ​celebrates​ ​mosquitoes,​ ​syringes,​ ​and​ ​oil​ ​derricks.​ ​Not​ ​only​ ​are these​ ​items​ ​symbols​ ​of​ ​significant​ ​threats​ ​to​ ​human​ ​life—mosquito-borne​ ​illnesses,​ ​drug addiction,​ ​the​ ​petroleum​ ​industry—but​ ​they​ ​are​ ​also​ ​causes​ ​of​ ​personal​ ​trauma​ ​for​ ​the​ ​artist, Andrew​ ​Norman​ ​Wilson.​ ​Influenced​ ​by​ ​John​ ​Keats’s​ ​“Ode​ ​on​ ​a​ ​Grecian​ ​Urn”​ ​(1820),​ ​wherein the​ ​narrator’s​ ​sense​ ​of​ ​mortality​ ​is​ ​intensified​ ​by​ ​the​ ​presence​ ​of​ ​the​ ​seemingly​ ​eternal​ ​art object,​ ​the​ ​video​ ​is​ ​structured​ ​as​ ​an​ ​infinitely​ ​looping​ ​ode​ ​with​ ​three​ ​central​ ​movements​ ​and distinct​ ​soundtracks.​ ​In​ ​the​ ​first,​ ​the​ ​camera,​ ​imitating​ ​the​ ​perspective​ ​of​ ​a​ ​mosquito,​ ​roves through​ ​the​ ​abandoned​ ​corridors​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Rockland​ ​Psychiatric​ ​Center’s​ ​children’s​ ​ward,​ ​where the​ ​artist​ ​once​ ​received​ ​treatment.​ ​In​ ​the​ ​second,​ ​highly​ ​saturated​ ​computer-generated​ ​3-D models​ ​of​ ​the​ ​mosquito,​ ​syringe,​ ​and​ ​oil​ ​derrick​ ​thrust​ ​their​ ​piercers​ ​into​ ​a​ ​surface​ ​that resembles​ ​at​ ​once​ ​magnified​ ​human​ ​skin,​ ​desert​ ​salt​ ​flats,​ ​and​ ​a​ ​potato​ ​casserole.​ ​In​ ​the​ ​final movement,​ ​the​ ​models​ ​are​ ​co-opted​ ​by​ ​an​ ​assembly​ ​line​ ​apparatus​ ​that​ ​in​ ​turn​ ​pierces​ ​and sucks​ ​the​ ​color​ ​from​ ​them.​ ​This​ ​act​ ​of​ ​draining​ ​becomes​ ​a​ ​metaphor,​ ​a​ ​social​ ​critique​ ​warning​ ​of humanity’s​ ​dangerous​ ​drive​ ​towards​ ​self-destruction.

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,​ ​Associate​ ​Curators. Support​ ​for​ ​this​ ​exhibition​ ​is​ ​provided​ ​by​ ​the​ ​Alan​ ​and​ ​Rebecca​ ​Ross​ ​endowed​ ​exhibition​ ​fund.