Organized by Irene Gludowacz and curated by Cornelis van Almsick, Young Americans was on at Vienna’s Franz Josefs Kai 3, running from Nov 17 until Nov 30, 2015. Bringing together eight young artists from the US whose work is intimately connected to digital technologies —including Petra Cortright, Luis Gispert, Alex Ito, Ken Okiishi, Timur Si-Qin, Carter Mull, Ryan Trecartin and Kaari Upson — the exhibition responds to the feeling of rapid change as a result of the internet and new media.
Through installation, photography and video art, the works focus on the underbelly of digital narrative and the alienation that lies beneath the confident branding and flashy aesthetics. The show is accompanied with a text written by Arielle Bier that unpacks the capitalist facade, framing the artists work within the “realities of rising poverty rates, institutionalized violence, and impending environmental collapse.”
An object-heavy exhibition, the materiality has a strong relationship with the digital. Ito’s ‘No Title’ (2015) series of taxidermy mice feel inspired by memes and the humanization of animals on the net, but their physical presence looks nightmarish. Cortright’s 29-second ‘sssss//////^^^^^^^‘ (2011) video is taken from her YouTube channel, a silent video where her face slowly slips across the screen; a recognition of her own face holds more importance than dialogue. The works of Young Americans look at the space between emptiness and wholeness, and the destabilizing ground our identities are fixed to.**
Exhibition photos, top right.