This exhibition, curated by Turner prize-winning artist Mark Leckey, will explore how our relationships with artworks and common objects alike are being transformed through new information technologies. It will present a kind of 'techno-animism', where the inanimate comes to life, returning us to 'an archaic state of being, to aboriginal landscapes of fabulous hybrid creatures, where images are endowed with divine powers, and even rocks and trees have names'
In his lecture, In the Long Tail (2008), Leckey describes the ways in which the 'entire vastness' of the internet caters for the desires of an infinitely long tail of consumers with minority interests. As modern technology becomes ever more pervasive and sophisticated, objects begin to communicate with us: phones speak back, refrigerators suggest recipes, and websites seem to predict what we want. While this takes us into the realms of science fiction, it also boomerangs us back into the past and a more animistic relationship to the things around us.
'The status of objects', Leckey argues, 'is changing, and we are once again in thrall to an enchanted world full of transformations and correspondences, a wonderful instability between things animate and inanimate, animal and human, mental and material'. Our hyper-rationalism of modern technology has paradoxically produced its opposite, an 'irrational' magical realm - or as Marshall McLuhan, communication theorist, described "a resonating world akin to the old tribal echo chamber where magic will live again".
The Universal Addressability of Dumb Things is an attempt to see the virtual realm cross over into the physical world and familiar objects become enchanted: a high-tech car may be presented in the form of a clay effigy; perfume bottles battle each other in a 'fantastical' video.
This exhibition will include historical and contemporary works of art, videos, mechanical objects and archaeological artefacts loosely grouped into 'leaky typologies': Man/Bodies, including angels and monsters; Animals, including mummies, fossils and chimeras; Machines, with circuitry, scientific and medical devices and spare gadgets.
Tour:the Bluecoat, Liverpool
16 February - 14 April 2013
27 April – 30 June 2013
De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill on Sea
13 July - 20 October 2013
The Universal Addressability of Dumb Things, curated by Mark Leckey at the Bluecoat,
Liverpool 16 Feb – 14 Apr 2013.
Photo credit Jon Barraclough.
Installation View. The Universal Addressability of Dumb Things, curated by Mark Leckey at the Bluecoat, Liverpool 16 Feb – 14 Apr 2013. Photo credit Jon Barraclough.