12/15/2014

[Radical] Digital Materialism :: Born Digital at Moti.

Jan-Robert Leegte, Rafaël Rozendaal, Studio Moniker, Rosa Menkman at Born Digital, Moti Breda
This weekend, Born Digital opened at the MOTI Museum for Design in Breda, Netherlands. The exhibition will be open until the 28th of June 2015 and I think that if you can make it you definitely should! 

A Vernacular of File Formats, Rosa Menkman at Born Digital, Moti, Breda.
The exhibition carries quite a few wonderful works and also a great instalment of Xilitla with custom build controller. And A vernacular of File Formats with special macroblock wallpaper. The prints and videos are installed according to compressions size and year of compression. So its kind of an infographic meets art.. I guess..

I did a couple of interviews for the exhibition and every time, I had to explain the title of the show; “Born Digital”. It seems that both journalists and critiques love to take the title as a reference to the artists exhibiting, being “Born Digital”. That is funny, because .. I am simply not born digital; I was born as a physical material (in a meat-suit ; ) and even though I use quite some Facebook I am still not (completely) digital (yet). But ok .. maybe the deal of this exhibition is to open up a discussion about art terminologies yet again… 

Ever since I was invited to take part in this exhibition I have understood the title as a reference to a genre of work of which its origins can be traced back into digital cultures: software, interfaces, mediation, etc. The works on display in this exhibition find their origin or references in computer or calculation cultures in one way or another. The content of the exhibition is thus more or less born digital. Or: post-digital Vaporwave made by digital pioneers, digital settlers and digital immigrants working with natively digital materials. OK, that last sentence was just a joke on those who really digg that e-culture niche marketing slang. 

I do not believe this is an exhibition about artists picking up their ‘digital paintbrush to paint with pixels’ or whatever nonsense a Dutch newspaper (NRC) wanted to describe it as (even after I had firmly stated in the same interview that this exhibition is not about anything remotely close to painting, when they asked me if I also like to paint... and what my connections to traditional art are) 

I realise that amongst a subset of post-digital cyberpunks it has become incredibly hot (and quite humorous) to describe yourself as a digital painter (or paint printer creating lenticular paintings, digital painting or inkjet paintings Ito, Cortright, Rozendaal, etc>). That kind of choice of vernacular opens up a debate that I think should be taking place (again) quite soon, as it also comes with a whole lot of problematics and misgivings. 

In any case digital painting is not the subject of this exhibition and I feel that in this case its the result of strongly conservative, misguided journalism. I would rather call it “radical digital materialism”. Now what do you think about that?




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