Digital​ ​Bodies:​
Kate
Cooper

Oct. 3 –
Oct. 29,
2017

Kate​ ​Cooper,​ ​​Rigged​,​ ​2014.​ ​Courtesy​ ​of​ ​the artist.

In​ ​​Rigged​,​ ​Kate​ ​Cooper​ ​uses​ ​CGI​ ​technology​ ​to​ ​comment​ ​on​ ​consumer​ ​capitalism,​ ​productivity, and​ ​image​ ​consumption​ ​in​ ​what​ ​the​ ​artist​ ​describes​ ​as​ ​“the​ ​language​ ​of​ ​hypercapitalism.”​ ​The work​ ​critically​ ​addresses​ ​the​ ​production​ ​of​ ​images​ ​in​ ​mass​ ​advertising,​ ​in​ ​particular​ ​the​ ​viewer’s relationship​ ​to​ ​the​ ​performativity​ ​of​ ​women’s​ ​bodies.​ ​Presented​ ​in​ ​a​ ​three-dimensional environment​ ​devoid​ ​of​ ​any​ ​contextual​ ​information,​ ​a​ ​seemingly​ ​perfect​ ​digital​ ​female​ ​body​ ​runs through​ ​space,​ ​while​ ​also​ ​cycling​ ​through​ ​different​ ​facial​ ​expressions​ ​that​ ​denote​ ​a​ ​range​ ​of recognizable​ ​emotions.​ ​Here,​ ​the​ ​body​ ​is​ ​the​ ​epitome​ ​of​ ​efficiency:​ ​athletic,​ ​productive,​ ​healthy, streamlined.​ ​And​ ​although​ ​as​ ​viewers​ ​we​ ​are​ ​aware​ ​of​ ​her​ ​artificial​ ​nature,​ ​we​ ​are​ ​inevitably drawn​ ​to​ ​her​ ​as​ ​a​ ​real,​ ​desired​ ​body.​ ​The​ ​phrase​ ​constantly​ ​repeated​ ​in​ ​the​ ​video,​ ​“disappear completely,”​ ​denounces​ ​the​ ​fetishized​ ​female​ ​body​ ​and​ ​provides​ ​a​ ​space​ ​for​ ​freedom​ ​outside bodily​ ​physical​ ​constraints.​ ​For​ ​Cooper,​ ​these​ ​constructed​ ​models​ ​do​ ​not​ ​represent​ ​anything​ ​in the​ ​real​ ​world,​ ​but​ ​rather​ ​offer​ ​(in​ ​the​ ​digital​ ​realm’s​ ​sustained​ ​promise​ ​of​ ​true​ ​autonomy) possibilities​ ​for​ ​agency​ ​to​ ​occur.

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 series is provided by the Alan and Rebecca Ross endowed exhibition fund.