Social(dis)Order, Glassell Gallery, Louisiana State University

Press Release
Curated by Margot Herster with Derick Ostrenko and Lydia Dorsey, Assistant Curator
Glassell Gallery, Shaw Center for the Arts, Louisiana State University
August 30-October 7, 2012

Social(dis)order is an exhibition that brings together recent and historical works that explore the power technology-enabled social networks have over traditional social constructs. Curated by Margot Herster and Derick Ostrenko, faculty in the Digital Art Area and AVATAR initiative at Louisiana State University, the exhibition is the season opening exhibition for the LSU School of Art’s 2012-2013 programming, Tipping the Edge.
The current state of digital media provides rapidly diversifying public platforms where social expression is used as a device for authority and influence. The exhibition presents artists and artworks that engage the balances and imbalances, freedoms and controls, and comforts and discomforts that accompany social change.
Social(dis)order will transform the gallery into a media-rich exploratory social space and invite visitors to participate. The exhibition features seven interactive and participatory works by artists whose creative practice explores the underlying motivations of the networks that keep people connected.
Natalie Bookchin‘s video projection, My Meds from the series Testament, assembles a chorus of medicated video bloggers and contemplates the intimacy and anonymity of mass communication enabled by websites like Youtube. Take This Lollipop by Jason Zada flirts with the danger of online exploitation in a Facebook app generated horror movie.
Two works in the exhibition activate discussion about the political implications of video games and their power for social impact. Games by the Italian team Molleindustria test visitors’ abilities against corrupt politicians, conspiracies and drone pilots and, according to the artists, are free from the “dictatorship of entertainment.” Another serious game with practical intentions, Virtual Peace, enables visitors to try their hands at a video game created by a collaboration of Duke-UNC Rotary Center for International Studies in Peace and Conflict Resolution and the learning environment company Virtual Heroes for the purpose of humanitarian aid training.
Created in 1999 and the earliest work in the exhibition, Joseph DeLappe’s Self-Portrait/A Dialogue is built from two computer mice that spew knock-knock humor when engaged by visitors and offers comic relief to the darker undertones of many of the other works. Another interactive sculpture by Jonah Brucker-Cohen is more foreboding. Brucker-Cohen’s Alerting Infrastructure! is a drill that will translate hits to the Glassell Gallery website into physical damage by burrowing into one of the gallery’s cement walls, amplifying the concern that physical spaces are losing ground to their virtual counterparts.
Alongside the computer-based works, London artists Ant Hampton and Britt Hatzius present a participatory installation that sets up an analog relationship between recorded media and live human bodies. In this This is Not My Voice Speaking the artists provide devices and instructions for visitors to enact a playful multimedia performance using analog materials including 16mm film, a record player and a slide projector.


Curatorial Statement