Artists explore our complex connection to the internet

Conflict in My Outlook_We Met Online, a major UQ Art Museum exhibition investigating how the internet shapes social relations and ideas, while also functioning as a surveillance device, will ‘go live’ on 21 August.

In a UQ Art Museum first, the exhibition will be presented and experienced entirely via a dynamic online platform that features recent and newly commissioned digital artworks and academic provocations, and a series of live events featuring panel discussions and interviews.

Exhibition Curator Anna Briers conceived the exhibition before the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, but said moving the format to an online presentation was a timely opportunity.

“Since ‘lockdown’ and social isolation measures, the erosion between our online and offline lives has never been more acute, so it feels like a pertinent time to be talking about the internet,” she said.

“Given the exhibition is of and about the internet, it made both material and conceptual sense to move it online – plus it was an interesting curatorial challenge to move nimbly in response to the unfolding pandemic.

“The exhibition foregrounds the internet as a source of both human connection and societal division, a means of producing digital intimacy and a purveyor of fake news, post-truth politics and echo chambers of disinformation.

“It’s also underpinned by more serious considerations, raising questions around surveillance capitalism and the ethics of artificial intelligence, data mining and human rights.”

UQ Art Museum Senior Curator Peta Rake said Conflict in My Outlook_We Met Online provided opportunities for extended and critical conversations with the University community and beyond.

“We’re able to draw from the rapidly changing research and expertise of both the UQ and international academic community into subjects such as digital intimacy, data mining and human-in-the-loop technologies, to inform the exhibition in a relevant, reciprocal way,” she said.

“The public programming will also see various online and ‘in real life’ events take place over the next 18 months that allow us to build this urgent knowledge together.”

Conflict in My Outlook_We Met Online showcases the work of Australian and international artists who respond to the content and context of the Internet in a variety of ways.

While some remix user-generated material sourced from video blogs or social media platforms, others sample from the 24-hour news cycle, or geo-location technologies such as Google Maps.

Exhibiting artists include: Zach Blas (UK), Natalie Bookchin (USA), Chicks on Speed (USA), Xanthe Dobbie (AUS), Sean Dockray (AUS), Kate Geck (AUS), Elisa Giardina Papa (ITA), Matthew Griffin (AUS), Daniel Mckewen (AUS), Zach Blas (UK) & Jemima Wyman (AU/USA).

The exhibition will run online here from 21 August until 1 March 2022.

An ‘in real life’ second chapter of the exhibition will open on 30 July 2021 at UQ Art Museum – Conflict in My Outlook_ Don’t be Evil.

This will feature immersive installations that connect back to the themes and ideas in the online exhibition.

Image: Kate Geck, Schema.jpg, 2020, digital image, dimensions variable.

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