The Current hosted the first gathering of our cooperative collection committee on February 20th, 2018. Artworks selected by Nora Khan were presented salon-style in founder Will Nathan’s SoHo loft. We hosted a conversation, and committee members voted on which works should enter the collection.
Listen-in on the conversation (runtime: 1 hour, 37 minutes) and in the images and excerpts below, hear more about why Nora selected these identity-focused works.
Nora Khan introduces the works selected for 'The Current // Identity'
“To start, the theme of identity is split between abstract and virtual identity, then moves to ways of mediating identity through speculation of futures and then finally closing on this end with culture, family and religious identity.”
Installation view Snow Yunxue Fu 'Side' (2017) a Moving Image Installation with Audio (Edition 1 +1AP, Duration: 06:08)
“I love this piece in part because it’s an abstract figure and it really sums up the meaning of identity for me – which is a space that is reconstituting itself and being broken down and reconstituting itself over and over again, in space. It’s fluid and it’s unfixed and it’s difficult to define.”
Installation view LaTurbo Avedon 'ID' (2015) Single-channel Video with Audio and 3-channel Installation with Audio (Edition 3 +AP, Duration: 03:18)
“LaTurbo is a virtual avatar artist and you don’t really ever see them. They're a curator in virtual space too. Their work is about having a non-physical identity. They come from a long history of avatar design within games and social media, and they think a lot about the internet as a place where you can play out one identity or 5 or 10 or a dozen simultaneously.“
Installation view Ann Hirsch 'Twelve' (2013) Unique Sculpture and iPad Application.
“Anne’s piece is here hidden in the bear. It is a meditation on chat room, Anne has a lot of work about being in AOL chat rooms when she was younger. This is a key sentiment – how you mediate yourself without your body through chat – which I think is something we all have some familiarity with, whether through text or messaging or other apps.”
Installation view Jakob Kudsk Steensen 'AQUAPHOBIA' (2017) Roomscale Virtual Reality Artwork (Edition of 4, Duration Variable)
“Jakob went to Red Hook in Brooklyn and started to map the subterranean infrastructure under the pier and under the park there. He asked us to imagine what a future would look like after climate change in that area of Brooklyn and if you live there you know, it’s going to be hit by climate change pretty hard. You walk through these networks of underground caves and you're following this water globule that –when you walk into it and out of it – recites a poem about your relationship to the landscape, to the pre-urban soil and plants that were there. This is a little bit more of a disembodied identity piece, but it does ask you to think about your relationship to objects, to nature and what your identity would be like distributed in the future and through time.”
Installation view Hyphen-labs 'Neurospeculative Afrofeminism (NSAF)' (2016 – ongoing) Virtual Reality Artwork for Oculus Rift.
“It is a story about women coming into a 'neurocosmetology' lab – it asks you to imagine a future in which black women and women of color are neuroscientists and brain engineers – offering different models for the presentations of people of color that you usually don’t see. What does that do to you cognitively? What does that do to you when you go into that space, and then come out into the world? It’s really asking you to come in here, reimagine identity and then come out into the world and see people differently.”
Installation view Meriem Bennani 'Fardaous Funjab: Episode 1: Fardaous' (2015-2017) Single-channel Video with Audio (Edition 3, Duration: 09:31)
“My two aunts who have lived in Saudi Arabia for the last 20 years laughed hysterically at this, they were full – like full – covering. They thought this was so funny because it really does reflect the inside world that women have in Muslim society. Women are extremely powerful, stylish, classy, sexy. Meriem brings you inside, with this very wry and amusing piece.”
Installation view Ryan Kuo 'Family Maker' (2017-Ongoing) MAC OS X Application (Digital edition of 88 on Left Gallery)
“It’s a meditation that is not about his family, but rather is an opportunity for you to reflect on your family and your relationship to your family. We moved the work into the bedroom because he made this in his parents’ bedroom in Queens, when he would come home for break and visit them.”
Installation view Tabita Rezaire 'Premium Connect' (2017) Single-channel moving image with audio, Duration: 13:00.
“It’s a really gorgeous piece about digital healing and the roots of the internet. A lot of Tabita’s work is about the infrastructure of the internet. She has a piece where the camera goes down to the bottom of the ocean and we see how the internet’s cables map over transatlantic slave routes. Her pieces move through geography and time, across South Africa and other landscapes.”
Read more in Part II – Venn Diagram Identities and Surviving the Internet