On Friday 10 December 2021 at 7:30pm, Patrick Lichty, Wade Wallerstein, and NeMe have the pleasure to invite you to the NeMe Arts Centre, for the opening of the exhibition Through the Mesh: Media, Borders, and Firewalls.
Ever since the creation of the Pony Express by the Mongolian Khanate, communications networks are a potent source of social and political power. Marshall McLuhan foretold the “Global Village,” where losses of identity can lead to violence, where everyone becomes deeply invested in everyone else’s affairs (social media, ‘Cancel Culture,’ and so on), with artists being the advance scouts for technology. Conversely, Jean Baudrillard stated in The Transparency of Evil that the signifier becomes about everything but itself—politics becoming entertainment, sports becoming politics, advertising becoming fetish, as the nature of reality dissipates in the distributed nature of the Deleuzian control networks. The spheres of informational power crash into the biopolitical (nation state), and entire nations lift out of cyberspace like great Motherships, and platforms like Meta gesture towards scales of power equal to feudal states before them. As humanity is squeez ed and stratified by the COVID pandemic, displaced by climate change, and manipulated by authoritarian games of geopolitical and informatic chess, are there any moves left for humanity, or is it in an endgame?
This exhibition will feature the work of artists who initially began to investigate the cultural space of the networks, biopolitical and informatic; who challenge or jam it.
The artworks look at electronic networks as scopophilic and performative, the asymmetric regimes of power they project, and the positive uses of “darkside” technologies. These areas of investigation open the media archeologies of the panoptic network, its modalities, and the spaces of criticism, humour and progressivism. From the era of the Cold War in which the “net” was created to assure communication, Through the Mesh: Media, Borders, and Firewalls seeks to consider the conditions of the contemporary landscape and suggest progressive strategies for the future.
The elements of the exhibition will involve interactive distributed actions for public discourse, varieties of positions about the notion of networks, the way they are reconfiguring global power relations, and the people behind multifarious borders. It is hoped that the project, through the exhibition, lectures, and actions will create useful dialogues about how the informatic landscape holds promise and peril not only for physical/informatic ecologies but the entire humanity.