VANCOUVER, BC.- The Polygon Gallery
presents Ghosts of the Machine from June 3August 14, 2022, a new group exhibition by curator Elliott Ramsey that looks at the relationships between humans, technology, and ecology. Ghosts of the Machine features a new commission by Cease Wyss (Skwxwú7mesh), in addition to works by Ho Tzu Nyen, Juliana Huxtable, Anne Duk Hee Jordan, Lu Yang, Skawennati, and Santiago Tamayo Soler.
The term ghost in the machine refers to the mind-body duality: the idea of the mind as software inhabiting the body as hardware, says Ramsey, who curated Interior Infinite at The Polygon last summer. Such binaries arent real. The mind doesnt exist without the body. The same can be said about technology. We try to split the virtual world from the real world, but virtual spaces rely on material hardware with ecological implications and are experienced physically. Similarly, we have real social and political interactions on digital platforms. We cant constrain reality into real and virtual; we end up sliding across these boundaries like ghosts through walls.
The exhibition features artists who use technology to push the limits of the medium and speak to their lived and embodied experiences. Ramsey challenges the escapist ethos of digital technology in order to the highlight the ways it can offer insights about our material, social, and environmental conditions.
Cease Wysss new commission is a garden project inside the gallery. Wyss will tend to the plants throughout the exhibition as a durational performance and installation. Featured prominently in the garden will be an augmented reality experience by the artist and award-winning producer Tracey Kim Bonneau (Syilx). Wyss and Bonneau are both members of Indigenous Matriarchs 4 (IM4), a lab dedicated to helping Indigenous communities incorporate virtual and augmented reality into educational, cultural, and commercial applications.
Singapores Ho Tzu Nyens No Man II is an installation work that features a projection on a two-way mirror with multi-channel surround sound, bringing the viewer into close proximity with dozens of avatars human, beast, and hybrid who quote John Donnes No Man Is an Island, reminding us of the interconnectedness of all things.
New York-based artist, poet, and DJ Juliana Huxtable bridges internet subcultures and performance through her self-portraiture, posing in her work ARI 1 as a trans-species entity to embody the fluidity and instability of our contemporary online spheres.
Berlin-based Anne Duk Hee Jordans Ziggy and the Starfish will feature an interactive sculpture that is modelled after cresting waves and is covered in blue shag carpet. Furnished with bean bags and pillows, the structure creates a small theatre where visitors can watch otherworldly sea animals seduce one another.
Lu Yangs Doku: Digital Alaya series speaks to how avatars embody slippage, signalling the relationships between human, nonhuman, and cyborg life. The Shanghai-based, rising international art stars work was last seen at The Polygons fall 2020 exhibition Third Realm.
Skawennatis bold, bright machinimagraphs images captured in virtual scenarios showcase her dimensiondefying avatar created in Second Life. The Montreal-based artist uses virtual environments as a tool to make work that addresses history, the future, and change from an Indigenous perspective.
Santiago Tamayo Soler creates pixelated universes home to Latin American, immigrant, queer stories of a radical futuristic fantasy. The Montreal-based artists work Retornar weaves together a parable of queer avatars and an earth in crisis.