spring 2003
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 Towards A Recombinant Reality (Online Exhibition - Web Curator's Initiative)
Shu Lea Cheang,
Wolfgang Staehle,
Eryk Salvaggio,
Sawad Brooks & Beth Styker,
Olia Lialina,
Zhang Ga

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Internet Explorer/Netscape 5 or later browser, min 800x600 monitor
Statement: That reality is ambiguous and a byproduct of retinal overload suggests an estrangement which artists strive to reconcile.

A recombinant reality is reality processed, meditated, elucidated and transcended, one which is beyond the real yet possesses substance. It is an ontological one that beckons the anonymous, an aesthetic one whose resonance is the utterance of discord, and a logical one therein syllogists find no dwelling.

It is truer than that which is real.

It seeks to reveal, to disclose, to clarify what the real hides from us and bewilders us with. It tells a story of sorrow, narrates a tale of mischief, unfolds a drama of passion and dictates a passage of wisdom. It attempts to explain humanity.

The extension of reality with a binary pulse, the digital reality, has ushered in a new fascination with packets, protocols, and bitmapping of invisible sphere, the new constituents of the reality. The technological sublime overwhelms and consumes, inspires and subdues. It is a dazzlingly blinding force run amok.

Yet, it is a reality that longs for reconciliation, to fill with its hollowness the flesh of life, for the virtual cannot sustain itself without the real, and the real can only be made sense of when recombinant.

Let us therefore sojourn into the nether and yonder land of that recombinant reality. Let us not be a captive of the binary, but let humanity prevail.

Working with network technologies, artists in this exhibition seek to come to terms with that reality. They manifest diverse visual and perceptual undertakings, from powerful vision of the terrible, as seen in Eryk Salvaggio’s September 11, to LeCielEstBleu’s normality gone absurd, from Shu Lea Cheang’s meandering across the tangible and the imagined where home(less) is homepage(less), from Sawad Brooks and Beth Stykers' problematic equilibrium to Olia Lialina’s murmur of an unspeakable melancholy, from Wolfgang Staehle’s meditative contemplation to Zhang Ga’s implicit commentary in a transposed time and space. They set forth environments, milieus, images, and language to suggest complex structures that engender a psychological impact and leave an emotional residue.

Towards a recombinant reality.

—Zhang Ga, September 2002

Bio: See individual bios for each artist in the exhibition.

Credits: Curated by Zhang Ga