Faith Holland launch + exhibition online, Oct 1 – Jan 31

30 September 2016

Portland’s Upfor Gallery is launching online exhibition space with a group exhibition, opening October 1 to January 31, 2017.

Curated by Valentina Fois, the show features work by Morehshin Allahyari, Leah Beeferman, Kate Durbin, Faith Holland, Brenna Murphy and Megan Snowe, and explores the tensions of functioning within an online space; its transience and eternity, freedoms and limitations.

Connected by a running commentary written by Kimmo Modig between all of the works, the exhibition explores these paradoxes and juxtapositions through work exploring the way we portray ourselves online and to others.

The website for the exhibition is designed by Fois and Beeferman, and additional text written by Fois, Snowe and Modig.

See the website for details.**

Kate Durbin, 'Hello Selfie Men' (2016). Photo by Anna Jacobsen. Courtesy the artist.
Kate Durbin, ‘Hello Selfie Men’ (2016). Photo by Anna Jacobsen. Courtesy the artist.

Header image: Brenna Murphy, ‘CorridorShiftExtrude (extract)’ (2016). Website. Courtesy the artist.

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DRKRM @ DAM Gallery, Oct 30 – Jan 16

30 October 2015

DAM gallery opens DRKRM, a new group show exploring GIFs as artworks, running at their Berlin space from October 30 to January 16, 2016.

DRKRM focuses in on the different aspects of GIF animation as art forms and their widespread distribution in the last few decades, becoming a kind of coded and somewhat sophisticated new language. “GIF animations”, the press release states, “are subject to specific principles”. The gallery in turn decided to use these principles to create a “Darkroom” of animations projected onto multiple screens.

Participating artists include Emma Talbot, Manfred Mohr, Faith Holland, Lorna MillsOlia LialinaDriessens & Verstappen, Kim Asendorf, and Anthony Antonellis.

See the exhibition page for details. **

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Porn to Pizza — Domestic Clichés @ DAM Gallery, Sep 4 – Oct 24

4 September 2015

DAM Gallery is hosting the Porn to Pizza — Domestic Clichés group exhibition at its Berlin space from a preview on September 4 until the closing on October 24.

The group exhibition bases itself on the acknowledgement that the 4Ps of domestic clichés—porn, pets, plants, and pizza—have left their realm of domesticity and started to exist in the virtual space of the internet.

Inviting over 20 international artists to participate, Porn to Pizza — Domestic Clichés play with today’s domestic spheres and personal comfort zones, revealing “how daily life has changed with the internet and how the conflict of the “real vs. virtual” invades our personal comfort zones”. Some of the participating artists include Petra CortrightKate DurbinFaith Holland and Angelo Plessas.

See the exhibition page for details. **

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Faith Holland GIFs @ Transfer, Jul 11

10 July 2015

Faith Holland continues her incredible streak with the visual mixtape ‘GIFs to Have Sex By’, featuring more than 40 artists and screening at New York’s Transfer on July 11.

With ‘GIFs to Have Sex By’, which screens first at the gallery and then online at Digital Sweat Gallery the following day, Holland invites 40 different artists to offer their interpretations of sexual encounters. Included in the line-up are artists like Nicole Killian, Rollin Leonard and Alma Alloro.

The Brooklyn gallery is also the site of Holland’s latest exhibition, Technophilia (now extended until July 25), and her Visual Orgasms series of looped images and Ookie Canvas cum shot collages. ‘GIFs to Have Sex By’, originally intended as the finale of Holland’s show, is the climax (we had to) of Holland’s explorations into sexuality and the visual intensity of the porn industry.

See the FB event page for details. **

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An interview with Faith Holland

17 June 2015

Drawing from gender issues, the variety of ways in which people engage their sexuality using technology, and in an attempt to redefine the heteronormative standard narrative often found in porn, artist Faith Holland has spent the past few months collecting and selecting cum shots that have been submitted to her by a wide range of online users for her new project ‘Ookie Canvases’. The resulting work has recently debuted in her first solo exhibition, Technophillia, which opened June 13, 2015 at Transfer Gallery. Holland is wholly dedicated to redefining the status quo depictions of the orgasm and of pornographic content at large. As an active feminist with a pro-pornography attitude, she uses her work in hopes to provoke thoughts that question the state of porn today. Holland often inserts herself into the very industry she’s critiquing by using RedTube as her medium to create interventions that disrupt and hopefully pose such questions to its unsuspecting viewers.

Animated GIF from ‘Visual Orgasms’ (2015) by Faith Holland. Image courtesy artist.

While sex is very much at the forefront of Holland’s work, rarely is it explicit. With Holland’s lo-fi net aesthetic series of GIFs entitled ‘Visual Orgasms’, she uses visual metaphors for orgasms such as trains speeding through tunnels, cascading waterfalls, or fireworks and manages to convey and arouse sexuality in the viewer while rendering it genderless. The imagery becomes transgressive for retaining its eroticism amidst a complete lack of bodies. It’s these subtleties that make her work deft as she treks through the swampy world of sexual politics and the cis-white-male hegemony with great skill. Holland is not at all careless with her research or her views. She very carefully considers inclusivity, fluidity, and does not exploit her subject matter, which is rather difficult to do when talking about sexuality or sex work in art.

Technophilia is a vision of the web that thrives with egalitarian pornographic content and a truer representation of sex in the sex industry—representation of all bodies across all spectrums, and of the elusive female orgasm. It is an ode to the intimacy and mediation that is offered by the screen, and how that shapes our sexuality and allows the other to become more visible and defetishized. It is a love letter to invisible bodies everywhere through a cascade of heavily lubed up ethernet cables ready to transmit these signals.

I met Faith on Google Chat to talk about her experience collecting cum shots online, her thoughts on the porn industry, female orgasms, and Technophilia, and her forthcoming visual mixtape GIFs to Have Sex By.

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‘Ookie Canvas I’ (2015) by Faith Holland. Image courtesy artist.

I’m curious, how many submissions have you gone through for ‘Ookie Canvas’? And what was the experience of going through images of people’s cum shots like?

Faith Holland: I think I got around 50-60 responses from a variety of sources. I set up an email account just for the project and also an anonymous dropbox but people ended up reaching out to me through my regular email, an email from a different project, through Facebook, etc. It was quite disordered, but in general pretty fun. I’ve put together some of my favorite emails into a small zine—some were quite incredible, like here’s a dick pic, an artist statement, and some work or here’s a video I made for a woman who aborted the fetus I wanted to have with her. The people that responded were often very interested in the project and gave me quite a bit; I was grateful.

Wow. That sounds like a really beautiful yet quirky experience. Some people treated their cum shot more personally or intimately than others. It’s almost like a small survey that reveals the different ways in which people relate to their bodies or orgasms.

FH: Yes, one person actually seemed to scan images from a personal archive—that felt really special and generous. But there was also an interesting sense of ownership; many asked when they would be able to see their cum on display.

Animated GIF from ‘Visual Orgasms’ (2015) by Faith Holland. Image courtesy artist.

I suppose in the end it’s the same as with any artwork, with regards to ownership.

FH: I guess so! I’m trying to credit everyone for their contribution, but I set out specific guidelines for that which most people ignored.

Which guidelines were mostly ignored?

FH: Well it was very open, but I did ask people to rename their files if they wanted to be credited with whatever name or handle they’d like to use. Particularly for things I received via email, that was ignored. But I promised anonymity of email addresses and names associated with those addresses, so to me that’s the more important part of the bargain. I also received one photo which is just a man standing in a field. That was a kind of lovely misunderstanding.

How many ‘Ookie Canvas’ abstractions will you be showing for Technophilia?

FH: Two—the first one, which is sourced from RedTube, my porn home where I also upload videos and the Sub/emissions canvas. I’ll continue with the series, but these are the first two.

‘Matrice’ (2015) by Faith Holland. Image courtesy artist.

Can you talk about your show a bit?

FH: Yes of course! So the show will include the ‘Ookie Canvases’, the ‘Visual Orgasms’ series of GIFs ,which I’ve added to with four new pieces, a sexy photo of wires drenched in lube which also serves as the centerfold for a catalog with essays by Nora O’ Murchú and Seth Watter, and two wire sculptures. One wire sculpture, called ‘Matrice’, is a recreation of an image I’ve used in my work before from a film called Sexual Matrix. It’s a tromp l’oeil piece that looks like space is receding more dramatically than it actually is. The other is a kind of wire altarpiece with 60 ethernet wall jacks all plugged in with wires cascading to the floor and dripping with lubricant. I’ve also made a soundtrack for the show that mixes computer whirs and sexual moans.

I am imagining a shrine for orgasms and the internet. What draws you to making work about the orgasm?

FH: Yes I love that description! I’m drawn to the orgasm because it’s unrepresentable visually and unreliable aurally, so visual media has often tried to overcompensate for that lack with cum shots. That was the initial idea for ‘Visual Orgasms’; cataloging and poking fun at the ways Hollywood represented sexual pleasure under the Hays Code, a censorship act in effect from approximately the 1930s to the 1960s. This is the same struggle that the pornography industry faces and they choose to deal with it through external cum shots, but of course that only represents male pleasure. The ‘Ookie Canvases’ came directly out of that inquiry into cum shots and the privileging of male pleasure that they necessarily indicate.

Animated GIF from ‘Visual Orgasms’ (2015) by Faith Holland. Image courtesy artist.

Yes the female orgasm has had a sad history. Men have gone great lengths to suppress the female libido. It took so long to even give it a proper name. I feel like your ‘Visual Orgasms’ give the female orgasm visibility and funnily enough by using the same visual imagery used in the past to censor them. ‘Visual Orgasms’ feel wholly feminine to me, they don’t make me think of male orgasms at all.

FH: I think oddly, even though they grew out of this thinking about male orgasms, they actually manage to represent both. I haven’t experienced both, but they are the same phenomenon—to orgasm is human. And maybe dolphin too?

Yes maybe I’m just biased because I only know my own experience but I suppose if a man saw one of your GIFS they’d probably associate it with their own experiences of pleasure too.

FH: I’ve gotten mixed responses. They’re representing something abstract, so I think it’s very easy to adapt to one’s own experience in a way that a literal cum shot cannot be adapted.

Good point. I’d like to talk a little about porn with you. Have your views on porn changed over the years after researching it for so long? I realize I don’t know exactly what your views on porn are. Could you also talk a little bit about that too?

FH: My relationship to porn is always evolving, particularly since I’ve been looking at SO MUCH for these projects. I’ve never been anti-pornography, and for me that’s a really important factor to consider in relation to my work. But I do find faults in pornography—its homogeneity, its production that targets heterosexual male audiences, its privileging of thin white cis-women’s bodies and the fetishization of all other bodies. So I try to make interventions into some of these problems through my work to open up a dialogue about porn’s biases and the potential for better porn. It’s meant as a loving critique.

Animated GIF from ‘Visual Orgasms’ (2015) by Faith Holland. Image courtesy artist.

You seem like a very beautiful person. I hope one day the porn industry changes in its treatment of sex workers and in the content that it produces. Trying to open up a dialogue is important to help make that happen so I really value your work and thoughts on the matter. So after you’ve finished installing, what’s next?

FH: The show also has a closing event called GIFs to Have Sex By with over 40 artists invited to make GIFs to form a visual mixtape you’d want in the background while having sex. So that’s the next immediate project and I’m really excited to see what people come up with; I’ve gotten some pretty fantastic things so far. After that, back to work! I want to make more ‘Porn Intervention’ videos for RedTube, I’ll continue working with ‘Ookies’ in a new project for The Wrong, and I have some more sculptural ideas I want to pursue. I’m bad at taking breaks.

Wonderful. Will the visual mixtape be available to download?

FH: The closing is July 11th, so it’ll debut at Transfer Gallery and then have a digital afterlife that I haven’t fully worked out. But it’s coming to a bedroom near you soon! **

Technophilia runs June 13, 2015 through July 11, 2015 at Transfer Gallery in Brooklyn, New York.

Header image: ‘It Needs You’ (2015) by Faith Holland. Image courtesy artist.

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Body Anxiety online, Jan 24

23 January 2015

The online exhibition Body Anxiety, curated by Leah Schrager and Jennifer Chan, goes live tomorrow, January 24.

Following an unmistakable trend – maybe better to use the word pattern or even a collective consciousnesses-like shift in thematics – of body politics in the emerging art scene, Body Anxiety brings together a group of diverse artists umbrella-ed perhaps only in their examination of “gendered embodiment, performance and self-representation on the internet”.

Participating in the exhibition are 20 artists whom have made a practice out of “female-empowering artworks”, including Hannah Black, Ann HirschGeorges JacoteyRandon Rosenbohm, and Faith Holland. Though the link to the site is still password-protected, the site should be open to the public once it goes live, and all the works will be available for viewing.

See the Body Anxiety FB page for details. **

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Chatrooms III: CLICK CLICK CLICK @ Grey Area, Jan 15

13 January 2015

Gray Area Art + Technology is hosting the latest edition of Chatrooms III, titled CLICK CLICK CLICK and taking place on January 15.

The survey of contemporary digital moving images includes a lot of things – GIFs, green screen keying, collages, appropriates, 3D renderings, augmented performances, more. Curated by Faith Holland and Nora O Murchú, the one-night-only screening involves a full house of great contemporary artists,  including Hannah Black and Lorna Mills , as well as some promising new names, like Morehshin AllahyariDafna Ganani, Geraldine Juárez, and Nicole Killian.

The greater Chatrooms, of which CLICK CLICK CLICK is only the third run, developed as a series of screenings, installations, conversations, and workshops focusing on contemporary new media art practices, curated by Allahyari and Willa Köerner from within Gray Area Cultural Incubator.

See the event FB page for details. **


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Click Click Click @ Whitebox Art Center, Sep 2

1 September 2014

To close off its Coded After Lovelace group exhibition, curated by Faith Holland and Nora O’ Murchú, New York’s Whitebox Art Center will be hosting the Click Click Click screening of GIFs and video on  September 2, from 7 to 10 pm.

Presenting work by a slew of contemporary artists, including Lorna Mills, Jennifer Chan, and Claudia Maté, as well as Sabrina Ratté, Raquel Meyers and Hannah Black, the event aims to present “new gestures of digital image making”.

As a survey of practices within the medium spanning “GIFs, augmented performances, green screen keying, collage, appropriation, processing, 3D renders and more”, the event follows the Coded After Lovelace exhibition examining the role of art and new technologies in responding to the contemporary condition.

Inspired by the world’s first computer programmer, Ada Lovelace, and featuring her creative descendants including Lillian Schwartz, Arleen Schloss, Olia Lialina, Claudia Hart, Carla Gannis, Rosa Menkman and Jillian Mayer, Coded After Lovelace tracks the influence of the past in constructing the present and looking towards the future with Click Click Click.

See the Whitebox Art Center events page for details. **

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Coded After Lovelace @ Whitebox Art Center, Aug 14 – Sep 2

14 August 2014

The Whitebox Art Center is hosting the Coded After Lovelace group show at their NYC location, running from August 14 to September 2.

Curated by Faith Holland and Nora O’ Murchú, the intergenerational group exhibition surveys the creative use of technology in art, from Lillian Schwartz’s ground-breaking computer experiments that has laid the foundations of digital art, to the “new media” laser works of Arleen Schloss.

Alongside Schwartz and Schloss is Olia Lialina, a pioneering net artist and theorist, and her plays on the World Wide Web and the GIF format, as well as the subversive 3D works of Claudia Hart, Carla Gannis’ ‘Non-Facial Recognition’ project, Rosa Menkman’s compression and feedback experiments, and the digitally generated images of Jillian Mayer’s ‘You’ll Be Okay’.

See the Whitebox Art Center exhibition page for details. **

Jillian Mayer - You'll Be Okay

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‘Crazy, Sexy, Cool’ online @ .dpi now

16 December 2013

Curated by Jennifer Chan and expressing her concerns with gendered online environments as an artist -as well as a part of a ‘Gendered Cultures on the Internet’ issuethe Crazy, Sexy, Cool gif exhibition over at French-Canadian feminist art and culture journal dpi. is up now.

Featuring contributions by the likes of Lorna Mills, Emilie Gervais and Jaakko Pallasvuo, each artist is assigned a folder and a cute girl anime avatar to file their contributions. Those include the obvious in Faith Holland‘s ‘boobs.gif’ and an illustration of gender stereotypes in Anthony Antonellis‘ ‘alphachannels.gif’.

In reference to the 1994 TLC album CrazySexyCool, that many an internet artist like Chan would have grown up with, it’s a reminder that, online or offline, nothing much has changed.

See the .dpi website for more. **

Header image: LaTurbo Avedon, ‘dancer.gif’.

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String Literal @ TRANSFER Gallery, Sep 20

17 September 2013

Artist Carla Gannis and poet Justin Petropoulos of <legend></legend> orchestrate two artist/ writer collaborations,  String Literal, over two dates at Brooklyn’s TRANSFER Gallery. Following up Anthony Antonellis + Anthony Tognazzini’s ‘Closer.mp4‘ last week, ‘Chelsea Manning’s Pussy’ celebrates women in computing. Having already wowed us with her own Credit Card Curation number porn recently, artist Faith Holland joins forces with Sarah Jane Stoner in recognising Manning in her achievements in dropping a database of the US government’s ‘third world’ exploitations at the expense of her freedom and coming out as a woman the day after being sentenced to 35 years in prison for the deed.

Adding to the list of unheralded women documented in Sadie Plant’s Zeros + Ones, Holland and Stoner celebrate Manning’s role with the exhibition on Friday, September 20, as well as the opportunity for attendees to write, draw or create something to be sent to Manning at the United States Disciplinary Barracks in Kansas.

See the TRANSFER events page for more details. **

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Faith Holland @ Credit Card Curation

22 August 2013

These days it would appear that anything can be curated and anything is a gallery. It might just be that as the art world expands, so does the cultural lexicon. In the same way that ‘like’ and ‘friend’ can mean one of several things, so too can a credit card become an art space.

Hence, the ever prolific and ingenious Anthony Antonellis and his Credit Card Curation, which this month features artist Faith Holland and her Sadie Plant-inspired “feminine zero”. Its suggestive hues and hypnotic movement is an image of those Western gender stereotypes and binaries that evidently won’t die with 1 and 0s of the internet. And if you have any doubt as what this images is suggestive of just check out the abstract porn site from whence it came.

See Anthony Antonellis’ website for more details. **

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