A new series of digital commissions guest curated by JiaJia Fei
For the first time in the history of art, many of our first interactions with the visual world now take place within the infinite scroll of our screens. Accelerated by more than a year of digital isolation, social media platforms have become a dangerous place from which to view the world: a live-streamed mutation of a once-utopian fantasy of democracy and access into a post-truth breeding ground for inciting division and extremism, while ceaselessly replicating the existing inequities of our physical reality.
In our increasingly product-oriented relationships with both art and technology, if you are not paying for the product, you are no longer the consumer: you have become the product. To challenge this concept is to no longer participate (and therefore forfeit one’s digital existence) on these algorithmically-driven performances of identity that play out 24/7 on our timelines, with or without us.
As artists consider and confront this new way of interacting with the world, on technologies used by the many and made by the few, Eyebeam has invited three artists to imagine new possibilities for our digital future. Through August 26, we present #EyebeamOffTheGrid on @eyebeamnyc, a series of digital commissions made for Instagram. Three unique works of art by Ari Melenciano, Josué Rivas, and Chella Man stretch the boundaries of technology, test the limits of the platform, and insist on how art can shift the dynamic of where power lies in our digital society.
Follow @eyebeamnyc, through August 26 and join us on Instagram Live to learn more about the commissions:
Instagram Live with Ari Melenciano
Wednesday, August 18, 12 pm EDT
Instagram Live with Josué Rivas
Friday, August 20, 3 pm EDT
ASL Interpretation will be provided during both Instagram Live presentations.
Ari Melenciano is a Brooklyn-based artist, creative technologist and researcher who is passionate about exploring the relationships between various forms of design and sentient experiences. She is a creative technologist at Google’s Creative Lab, professor at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Graduate Program, and founder of Afrotectopia, – a social institution that is imagining, researching, and building at the nexus of new media art, design, science, and technology through a Black and Afrocentric lens. Her award-winning work has been supported and exhibited by a variety of institutions including Sundance, The New Museum’s New Inc, The New York Times, and The Studio Museum of Harlem. She is often guest lecturing at universities around the world.
Josué Rivas (Mexica and Otomi) is an Indigenous Futurist, creative director, visual storyteller and educator working at the intersection of art, technology, journalism, and decolonization. His work aims to challenge the mainstream narrative about Indigenous peoples, co-create with the community, and serve asa vehicle for collective healing.He is a CatchlightLeadership Fellow, Magnum FoundationPhotography and SocialJustice Fellow, founder ofI NDÍGENA, co-founder ofIndigenous Photograph and Curator at Indigenous TikTok. His work has appeared in National Geographic, TheGuardian, The NewYork Times, Apple, Nike and Converse amongst others.J osué is a guest in the traditional village sites of the Multnomah, Wasco, Cowlitz, Kathlamet, Clackamas, Bands of Chinook, Tualatin, Kalapuya, Molalla (Portland, OR.)
The intersections of my identities as a Deaf, trans, Chinese and Jewish artist evoke a unique perspective. Before learning the language to articulate my experiences, art was a loophole. Creating visuals enables me to express myself when lacking the proper language.
Creating quickly served as a catharsis as I grew into myself and understood where I fell within disability, gender, race, and sexuality identities. This relationship remains today within my work.
Additionally, having experienced repetitive tokenization for who I am, I am familiar with the battle over the agency to define myself. Historical erasure and systemic oppression tried to hide the resources I needed to define myself by what I am, rather than what I am not. Negative space can only create an outline of my being, a binary glimpse, lacking complexity and life.
My art has also allowed me to accessibly share my findings of the missing, key component. I refer to this piece as the continuum; this truly grants my figure a soul.