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curated by artist Joshua Bienko

Rachele Riley
Once-a-day (2008)

John Stidham
Untitled (2008)

Joey Neon (Jocelyn Negron)
Hijack (2008)

Toadex Hobogrammathon
dagmar_chili.pitas (2008)

September 13 - November 02, 2008
Curated By Joshua Bienko

   The Overload Virtual Art Collection distances us from the screen within which we consume.  Rachele Riley's work Once-a-day, instigates this exact type of "info-spection."  Taken from automated Google News Alerts, Once-a-day is an amalgamation of links, images, icons and text that seem both familiar and disparate.  The work deals with violence and how it is processed into (and out of) the everyday barrage of Web imagery.  Within a gallery, the piece is a construction of seemingly familiar iconography in a seemingly familiar space. Once-a-day's power however, is in its ability to affect our re-entry into the Internet outside of an art context.  After viewing Riley's work, our own navigations are peppered with her familiar images.  This repetitive strategy invites us to double back over the interpretive ground that we gain.  Riley aims to, "create emotional encounters, which are dense with information and malleable in meaning. These encounters propose a new visual symbolism through the recontextualization and transformation of everyday imagery."
   Any talk of violence must necessarily include its motivating force.  In the work of John Stidham, power switches hands in a cyclical way.  The work's erudite use of the Web page proper propels us into an atmospheric state where the minute is magnified and the banal is profound.  Videos play over a backdrop of high-resolution images that remain static.  Each has a symbiotic relationship with the other, reducing meaning to what Slavoj Zizek might call "the minimal difference" or to the space "between the presence and absence of meaning itself".  In other words, it is what is happening between the backdrop and the foreground and between the screen and its viewer wherein meaning lies.
  Overuse, experimentation, and abuse of Web design applications run rampant on the Internet, but Stidham's work economically utilizes only what is necessary in an effort to convey meaning.  Contributing to the argument against superfluous Art School delineations, music composed by the artist accompanies this body of work.  Stidham is not a Webmaster, a painter, nor a musician.  He is an artist guided by the content of his work and this piece is evidence of such.
   An inspection of the space between space parallels the experimental writing techniques explored in the early 1950's.  Allen Ginsberg writes, "So Burroughs was, in cutting up, creating gaps in space, gaps in time, also as Cezanne or as meditation does."  William Burroughs felt that his "Cut-Ups" were attempting to tamper with the Wittgensteinian idea of a prerecorded Universe.  If all of the information of the Universe is prerecorded, Burroughs felt that he could, by rearranging the information, alter its prerecordings.  Joey Neon's (Jocelyn Negron) careful image selections and manipulations on Hijack are reminiscent of Burroughs' work.  Using a tumblr page (a blog type format, streamlined for quick multi-media posts in place of author commentary) Joey posts frequent creations that mix interpretive suggestions with free associative marks.  The title of the site, "Hijack," begs further dissection.  The word has recently been 'hijacked' from its original meaning and applied to a slew of new web related crimes, (i.e. Reverse domain hijacking, DNS hijacking, IP hijacking etc.).  These involve stealing domain names from their rightful owner or creating rogue copies of popular sites and linking them to malicious or unrelated sites.  Joey Neon's Hijack attempts to again redefine the word itself.  The unique format of the tumblr page consistently satisfies the postmodern desire for un-satisfaction.  In opposition to traditional means of mark making, Hijack is constantly changing.  It has a life so to speak, of its own.  From the title, to the author's doppleganger, to the images posted, there is a conscious effort to reassign meaning.  Whether it will ultimately change  Wittgenstein's prerecordings or not is still to be seen.
   The final artist accompanying this show might not know that he/she is involved.  No one knows exactly who is behind dagmar_chili_pitas.com.  There is a reference to one "Toadex Hobogrammathon" that appears in the writings numerous times.  This name has been assumed as the author's although this is purely speculative.  To achieve descriptions of "strange" or "original" on the Internet is nearly impossible and yet Toadex achieves both simultaneously.  After reading the text on the site, it is extremely difficult to discern whether this is the work of a human or a computer producing a form of "spamoetry."  Every Web site includes code that in short, explains its content, yet dagmar_chili_pitas.com's code is misleading.  It seems that this site was not made for humans.  In fact, it may very well have been made for the Internet itself and we viewers are unnecessary.  Consequently, this work of Art (and I do not hesitate to call it that) is a new form of Outsider Art.  Dagmar_chili_pitas.com was not created to be included in this exhibition. The inclusion of this site to the collection drags along an enormous amount of Post-Modern (as well as Post-Production) problems.  Who is the artist? Does there have to be an artist?  Does there have to be art?  Is it true that if we can no longer differentiate between man and computer, then we can no longer differentiate between man and woman?  A discussion of these very problems may be custom made for an exhibition titled Overload

I encourage you to inspect these Internet pieces thoroughly. The work included in this show overall, as well as those in the Overload Virtual Art Collection, hold ongoing discoveries as well as promise for an Art world on the verge of a major shift.

Joshua Bienko

Click here to view ATHICA's Virtual Art collections on our old site
Artist Didi Dunphy curated collections in 2004 (Regime Change
and Beauty and the Beast) and 2003 (What I did on My Summer Vacation).
Founding board members Laura Floyd
and Dennis Harper curated v1 in 2002.  
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