There once was a time where encountering modern technology was a luxury, and now, it’s next to impossible to find a place untouched by its hold on us. Technology is inescapable–our phones a new appendage, the internet a second brain, Alexa always listening in. In fact, our dependence on technology is nothing short of an addiction, and the extent of its influence over the past 50 years can be observed through MOAD at MDC‘s latest art exhibition: The Body Electric.
Opening November 5th, The Body Electric features the works of 59 internationally-acclaimed visual artists in an exhibit that showcases a collective work spanning half a century. It passionately depicts the record-breaking changes in the relationship between man and technology that the past 50 years has been witness to, and the role technology has played in the resulting paradigm shifts among the social themes of gender, race, class, and sexuality. Start with the rise of television in the 1960s to the almost imperceptible love affair between a woman and her selfies that we see today. Eventually, you’ll be immersed in the world where line between technology and humanity is blurred completely–or are we already there?
In The Body Electric, we see technology in its many roles. As a means for instant information where libraries and encyclopedias once reigned supreme not 50 years ago. As our main channel for communication and the social patterns that have evolved alongside newer, faster, farther means of worldwide contact. As a portal for validation, relying more on what the camera shows us than the mirror before us, and the need for someone to see that we’ve done something in order to truly feel accomplished. And while we have given ourselves fully to technology, we have also made our vulnerabilities easier to pinpoint. We have opened ourselves up for becoming easier to break down.
Image courtesy of the artist (Hito Steyerl), Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York and Esther Schipper, Berlin
As newer generations become more reliant on technology than experiencing the realities before us, we are now seeing that living two lives at once–the physical and the technological–is second nature. In The Body Electric, these artists use their work to showcase how this dependence has not only had an effect on the media used in visual arts (from TV screens and audio recordings to hand-held devices and immersive VR experienced), but in the perspectives that technology has opened the conversation up for.
In essence, The Body Electric is more than an art exhibition, it’s a historical study on man versus technology, a fight that we are more than willing to lose. As MOAD at MDC has moved its programming to virtual means during the pandemic, we can’t wait to get to step into their space at The Freedom Tower once again for what will be their most powerful exhibition yet. Experience The Body Electric from November 5th, 2020 – May 30th, 2021. Grab tickets in person or online here.
Cover photo courtesy of Sidsel Meineche Hansen and Rodeo Gallery, London / Piraeus.