I Was Raised on the Internet


The internet has changed our world. Our everyday lives will never be the same. Since its start, artists have been reacting
to and engaging the internet as a medium for art making. The way we represent ourselves has been transformed
by the creation of social platforms. The artist Amalia Ulman overhauled her Instagram
and Facebook profiles with photographs of her carefully posed, “perfect” life: a
beautiful breakfast, armfuls of shopping bags, plastic surgery. After four months, Ulman revealed this new
identity to be a performance. She demonstrated that social media is a stage
to fabricate any identity. How do you present yourself online? How are you looked at? Artists working today are interested in the
blurring of the real and the virtual. The “Nail Art Museum,” created by Jeremy
Bailey, uses augmented reality software to imagine the future of the museum. As he waves his hand, pedestals appear to
support a series of art objects by artists such as Ai Weiwei and Jeff Koons. Bailey posits that the future of the museum
may be one that we carry on our own fingertips, responsive to our own needs, interests, and
desires. How are artists thinking about physical objects
and their digital representations? Are you looking at an art object that was
created by hand? Or are you looking at something that was made
on a computer? The World Wide Web was invented with the utopian
promise that information would be free for everyone. Today, mobile devices allow us to carry the
internet with us everywhere, but through our devices we can be surveilled by governments
and corporations. “Autonomy Cube” is an artwork devised
by Trevor Paglen. It creates an untraceable network that scrambles
your location. Using it, you are free to surf the internet,
free from surveillance of this museum or of any government entity. Is the cube the artwork? Or is the network the art? Or is it you, surfing the web, making your
own decisions, free from the binds of surveillance–are you the art? The internet has changed how we play games. Online gaming today is a collective interactive
experience. In Jon Rafman’s video, “Kool-Aid Man in
Second Life,” he takes us on an adventure through the virtual world of Second Life. Rafman uses the Kool-Aid Man mascot to take
us on a guided tour. As he leads us through virtual environments,
we visit dance clubs, see people making love and changing into animal-like beings. In this world, you can be whatever you want
to be. How do artists use games and play to comment
on our world? How do you play? The World Wide Web has become commercialized. Corporations regulate our access to websites. Our own online behaviors are mined by businesses
to sell us products. The internet is now a place where global brands
expand their reach into our collective consciousness. Can we imagine a new way to coexist? How does the internet buy and sell us? How can artists expose the corporatization
of our culture? The artworks in this exhibition explore our
collective present and our potential futures. The point of this exhibition is to encourage
you to not only ask your own questions, but to pose your own conclusions. To provoke you to create your own imaginings
of the future that you want. I was raised on the internet. Were you?