Eva and Franco Mattes, My Generation, 2010. Video (13 minutes, 18 seconds), broken computer tower, CRT monitor, loudspeakers, keyboard, mouse, and various cables; overall dimensions variable. Installation view, Plugin, Basel
I Was Raised on the Internet
Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
June 12 - October 14, 2018
Curated by Omar Kholeif
The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago is presenting I Was Raised on the Internet, an immersive and participatory exhibition examining the impact of the internet and how it has affected our way of experiencing the world. Featuring almost 100 interactive artworks from 1998 to the present, I Was Raised on the Internet spans photography, painting, sculpture, film and video, as well as emerging technologies, interactive computer works, video games and virtual reality. Curated by Omar Kholeif, MCA Senior Curator and Director of Global Initiatives, I Was Raised on the Internet runs from June 23 to October 14, 2018 and is supported by a lead grant from the Carl & Marilynn Thoma Art Foundation.
I Was Raised on the Internet examines the influence of gaming and entertainment, as well as social media and smart phones, on everyday life. Taking 1998 as a starting point, the exhibition decodes a generation of artists and viewers who have come to speak a unique vocabulary that has emerged with the new millennium.
The exhibition seeks to put into language the idea of the “millennial’”—in the truest sense of the word—extrapolating the terms used by artists and creative practitioners in relation to the internet, including the so-called post-internet phenomenon. Fittingly, the viewer is an active agent, engaging new forms of networked behavior and participating both in the gallery space and beyond, through additional digital works hosted online. I Was Raised on the Internet plays with the dystopic connotations of our online multiverse but also is a direct reaction to the utopic beginnings of the world of computing.
The exhibition also features prominent commissions from some of the most important artists working with art and technology today.
- DIS is a New York-based collective whose commission explores the group's focus on 'edutainment,' such as the popular TED-style video content. The main element is a new film, displayed as an immersive environment of screens.
- Christopher Kulendran Thomas's installation builds on his previous films exploring Microsoft and Amazon. His new commissioned film centers on the electric car company Tesla, featuring both original and appropriated footage.
- Jeremy Bailey's commission takes the form of a start-up accelerator in the model of companies such as Y-Combinator. Bailey selected four Chicago-area artists who each developed a new interactive product, company, or service. He is holding workshops for the artist-participants to realize their projects with a team of mentors drawn from new media arts professionals and tech company leaders for Etsy and Kickstarter. The result takes the form of a 'demo day' event, when each of the participating artists pitch their ideas to a live audience.
- Porpentine Charity Heartscape's commission is a new video game for the exhibition's online platform in the form of a semi-autobiographical journey through her own childhood relationship with the internet.
I Was Raised on the Internet is organized into five sections, each describing a different mode of interaction between the viewer and the art object:
- Look at Me explores new, more fluid forms of identity that flourish in a world where social media encourages the continual performance of the self and networking with others. Key artists in this section include Petra Cortright, Douglas Coupland, Andrea Crespo, Juliana Huxtable, Rachel Maclean, Evan Roth, Jacolby Satterwhite, and Amalia Ulman.
- Touch Me traces the extent to which it is possible to translate information and digital images into real space. This chapter focuses on art's fluid boundaries between two- and three-dimensions, and addresses the ways individuals are increasingly seeing touch and sensuality as new concepts in the world of the internet. Artists in this section include Ian Cheng, Aleksandra Domanović, John Gerrard, Oliver Laric, Takeshi Murata, Jon Rafman, Elias Sime, and Harm van den Dorpel.
- Control Me addresses the pervasive culture of surveillance and data collection that network technology enables. It explores the visual vocabulary for state control, and asks how that control will develop through new technologies. Key artists in this section include Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Thomson and Craighead, Trevor Paglen, and Andrew Norman Wilson.
- Play with Me documents the progression toward fully immersive and interactive technologies developing today, where the visitor is an active agent in the work. Key artists in this chapter include Cory Arcangel, Ian Cheng, Simon Denny, Cao Fei, Daniel Steegmann Mangrané, Eva and Franco Mattes, Jon Rafman, and Ryan Trecartin and Lizzie Fitch.
- Sell Me Out focuses on corporate culture and consumerism. Artists expose, critique, and participate in marketing strategies such as brand identity, with a critical eye to the future of buying and selling. Viewers can access each section's works online through an exhibition website. Key artists in this section include Sophia Al-Maria, Anne de Vries, Goldin + Senneby, Joel Holmberg, Katja Novitskova, Sean Raspet, Hito Steyerl, and Christopher Kulendran Thomas.
Extending the exhibition beyond the MCA walls, a microsite-created specifically for the show presents internet-based artworks. This expansion of the exhibition is accessible for all both at the museum and anywhere in the community with an internet connection.
The exhibition is accompanied by a major anthology of essays and critical reflections based on artists working with internet and digital technologies. I Was Raised on the Internet is edited by Omar Kholeif and has critical essays, provocations, and manifestos as well as artist projects based on the new commissions for the exhibition.