The day I decided to go see Electronic Superhighway (2016-1966) at Whitechapel Gallery in Shoreditch began like any other. I woke up at 8:45am to the sound of my Radar (Default) iPhone alarm. At which point I began checking and browsing Gmail, Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter. After 25 minutes of this I then googled train times whilst simultaneously checking the Maps app for directions to the gallery. You can understand of course, with my mild and guilty obsession of all things technological, why I’d want to go and see Whitechapel Gallery’s recent exhibition Electronic Superhighway (2016-1966). The exhibition was arranged in reverse chronological order; starting in 2016 (and the 2000’s) and ending with works 50 years older in 1966. The exhibition initially felt quite overwhelming. There were computer screens and video installations in every direction; those of which weaved in between large canvased selfies and emoticon sculptures. Despite my initial reaction however, I certainly felt as though it was purposely chaotic. To me, it represented the overwhelming amount of information technologies like the internet expose us to.
Here are a few of my favourites…-Constant Dullaart, Jennifer in Paradise
1)…One of which was Constant Dullaart’s wall spanning piece, Jennifer in Paradise. Here Dullaart takes the first ever Photoshopped image—a woman laying on a sandy beach– and manipulates it to create the effects ‘Glowing Edges’ and ‘Plastic Wrap’. Jennifer in Paradise was first Photoshopped by Kodak in 1987.
-Mahmoud Khaled, Do You Have Work Tomorrow?
2) Technology, as we all know, allows an individual to turn their private life into a public one. Artworks like Do You Have Work Tomorrow? By Mahmoud Khaled work on this idea by making private online Grindr conversations into public performative pieces.
3) Social networking sites such as Instagram and Facebook beg their users to answer one simple question, ‘What are you doing right now?’ (Or ‘what’s on your mind?’ in Facebook’s case). Cory Arcganel’s modified Instagram image of Paris Hilton represents what almost all of us are guilty of; posting a photo of ourselves doing something we consider to be interesting, fun and “worthy” of the internet.
All in all Whitechapel Gallery’s Electronic Superhighway certainly delivered the goods. It was informative, humorous, interactive and even a little bizarre at times. WTF else could u ask for OMG???
Written by Sweet ‘Art’s Melina Payne (2016)