The Arizona Pavilion for the wrong biennale at the mood room.
The Valley of Virtuality: From Zenomorphs to Xenographers
The Valley of Virtuality: From Zenomorphs to Xenographers, included the work of more than 20 artists who are shifting the boundaries of how we define Virtual Reality (VR) by using themes not only from the Valley of the Sun, Death Valley, “the Valley” of Southern California and Silicon Valley, but also the concept of the “Uncanny valley”, which refers to the proliferation of “sim life” and hybrid realities throughout the texture of culture writ large. By using new platforms, rhizomatic routers and other forms of mediation provided for by the wrong biennale, the Valley of Virtuality (VoV) draws together those projects that are engaged in mapping and morphing our perceptual codes, social codes, and every other kind of codified system of meaning-making that we might encounter today.
From data-bending and image manipulation to culture jamming and hacktivist interventions, the VoV Pavilion is the place to encounter artists acting as avatars in search of new perceptual modalities. As such, the VoV is an experimental site for works that explore how the phenomenology of virtuality has become both an everyday habit and a habitus, a recursive and a recombinant model for creativity, and an improbable and seemingly inevitable destination for corporeal bodies to acquire a new type of existence within the realm of remediation.
As such, the wide range of projects on display that involve digital mapping, holographic projections, and analogue devices, mark the Arizona Pavilion not as a “a desert of the real”, but as an uncanny valley of twining figures that populate the regions of the West and the greater Southwest. Taken together, these works call into question the dominant motifs of glitch aesthetics and digi-modernism in an ongoing effort to redefine the relationship between virtual and the real as we know it.
From Zenomorphs to Xenographers, (or Life after S/Z).
S/Z was a famous book by the French Theorist, Roland Bathes that set out to analyze “Sarrasine”, a short story by Honore de Balzac. The method that Barthes deployed in reading the work is still considered to be one of the key texts that initiated the Post-Structuralist break, and ultimately gave rise to postmodernism as a broader cultural phenomenon.
S/Z examined the text through 5 codes: the hermeneutic code, the proairetic code, the semic code, the symbolic code and the cultural code. The aim of this polyvalent analysis was to demystify the link between a sign and its (inherent) meaning. This new model of literary analysis upset the dominant models of structuralism which sought to fix meaning, determine authorial intent and provide the canonical interpretation of any given masterwork. In other words, the revolution provoked by S/Z was nothing less than a total rethinking of the field of literary and artistic meanings and the contexts in which they were situated. Thus, S/Z made the case for valuing the plurality of meanings that we can attribute to both sides of interpretation, which Barthes called the writerly and readerly.
By contrast, X/Z or its reversibility as Z/X, proposes a Post-Bathesian Semiotics that is much more radical for highlighting temporal, genetic and bio-semiotic perspectives on interpretation today. This is because the hermeneutic circle has widened and now has global implications beyond the literary. The proairetic code has become reversible in the era of digital information and bio-genetics, where copying, sequencing, editing and other terms have taken on a broader set of long-term implications. The semic code is obfuscated in a post-literate society, which increasingly trades in reading affect, bodily gestures and different ways of “codings” information as the principle processes of shared meaning-making. And finally, the symbolic code reaches a limit-event with the birth of the computer code just as the cultural code has ben transformed into so many competing hyper-texts, initiating our entrance into a labyrinthine order without any originary referent.
The Vale Pavilion: From Zenography to Xenomorphology, (or from Z to X and back again) seeks to explore these contractions, taking S/Z as a jumping off point for the interpretation of a larger cultural shift in how we understanding meaning making today.
The wrong biennale.
The wrong is a global curatorial initiative that aims to nurture the growth and advancement of digital culture today. The mission of the wrong is to create, promote and push positive forward-thinking contemporary digital art to a wider audience. This is done through exhibitions and the linking together of world-wide online platforms that gather together a vast selection of digital artworks from across the globe.
While the Arizona pavilion is in midtown, Phoenix some of the other pavilions, embassies, and routers participating in the wrong are in Amsterdam, Athens, Oslo, Reno, New York City, Munich, Philadelphia, Barcelona, Rio de Janeiro, Beirut, Warsaw, Berlin, Krakow, La Habana, Lisbon, Paris, or Miami, to name just a few.
Founded in 2013 by David Quiles Guilló, the wrong is an online biennale that has showcased thousands of artists as part of its radically open exhibition format. Counting a viewership in the millions, the wrong just might be the world’s largest art biennale. Now in its 4th iteration, the wrong has participation from more 180+ curators, 2,000+ artists in 150+ pavilions, embassies and routers at 100+ locations around the world and on the internet.
“Anyone interested in the field of digital art ought to pay attention to The Wrong.” — Christiane Paul, the adjunct curator of digital art at the Whitney Museum of American Art
Samantha Lyn Aasen
Samantha Lyn Aasen is an artist adapting to the southwest, as she holds on to her Midwestern mentalities. Her suburban upbringing has her questioning female relationships and societal standards on sexuality. Samantha identifies herself as a feminist artist. She uses her art as an exploration of desire and repulsion embedded in girlhood and within American consumer culture. Samantha has had exhibitions in Indiana, Arizona, Illinois, Nebraska, Maryland, and the UK. She holds a Bachelor’s of Fine Art in Photography from Herron School of Art and Design at Indiana University and a Studio Art MFA with an emphasis in Intermedia from Arizona State University. Recently she attended the Feminist Artist Conference Residency in Toronto, Canada. Currently she teaches at Phoenix College and volunteers with Girls Rock! Phoenix.
Mia B. Adams
Mia B. Adams is a Phoenix-born nationally exhibited artist that currently resides in Arizona. Adams holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with a focus in Intermedia from Arizona State University’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. By delving into topics of race, discrimination, and social hierarchies, Adams is actively exploring and challenging the interconnections between art and social justice through her studio practice. Working across various mediums, her work is a response to ongoing social and political issues and resides as a visual timestamp of the struggles people of color continue to face in contemporary society. Adams has exhibited her work nationally and will be making her international debut this April at the Ibrida Festival of Intermedia Arts in Forlì, Italy.
Malena Barnhart is a feminist artist who makes art from repurposed cultural materials including YouTube videos, children’s stickers and party decorations. Her work centers around the process of enculturation and its role in perpetuating harmful gender norms. She received her MFA in Photography from Arizona State University and her BA in studio art from the University of Maryland. Her work has shown extensively within Arizona at a variety of locations such as the Tucson Museum of Art and the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. Her work exhibits nationally and internationally as well, in places such as Washington DC, Chicago, Portland, Detroit, San Francisco, Finland, Italy, Israel and London. She has received awards including a Carmody Foundation grant, the Juror’s Merit Award in Heat Wave: Desert Photography, the John Dorsey Prize for Outstanding Curatorial Practice and the Sadat Art for Peace Award from the Anwar Sadat Chair for Peace & Development. Her work is in the special collections at Columbia University, the permanent collection of Northlight Gallery and the personal collection of Madeleine Albright.
Born in 1975 in San Francisco, Justin Bower graduated in 2010 with a Master’s of Fine Arts from the Claremont Graduate University. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Arizona in Art and Philosophy. The artist lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. Justin Bower paints his subjects as de-stabilized, fractured post-humans in a nexus of interlocking spatial systems. His paintings problematize how we define ourselves in this digital and virtual age while suggesting the impossibility of grasping such a slippery notion.The ongoing decoding of the human body, a formula to each individual’s genome, confronts us with a radical question of “What are we? Am I a code that can be reduced and multiplied infinitely?” Bower’s paintings begin to open a dialogue to this destabilizing effect/trauma technology has on the individual that has infected the daily lives of contemporary man.
Christine Cassano is an interdisciplinary artist who exhibits her work locally, nationally and internationally. Her time spent as aresearcher within the environmental industry left her with an enormous curiosity for examining our civilization’s effects on our planet’s ecological environments. Her current work explores human-caused impacts on these ecological systems and structures by traversing connections between humanness, technology and ecology. The result is a survey of pervasive patterns created by human advancements, urbanization, globalization and digital hyper-connectedness. Christine’s studio practice includes a range of sculptures, installations, land art and two-dimensional works. Each enlists a variety of intricate materials and processes as she explores principles, correspondences and paradoxes that engage our present ideas and perceptions regarding cultural progress while offering areconsideration of our future destiny within this industrial, digital era.
Ashley Czajkowski is an image-based artist working in a number of interdisciplinary methods. Driven by personal experience, her research explores social constructions related to gender, mortality and the psychological manifestation of and the human-animal. Though situated in photography, Czajkowski’s practice also incorporates performative video, installation, and alternative print processes, pushing the expected boundaries of the photographic art medium. Czajkowski achieved her Bachelor’s of Fine Art in 2009 from Emporia State University in Kansas, and earned her Master’s of Fine Art in photography in 2015 from Arizona State University. Czajkowski’s work has been exhibited across the United States and internationally. Most recently, her work was shown at the Soho Photo Gallery in New York, The Millepiani Art Space in Rome and the CICA Museum in South Korea. Czajkowski currently resides in Tempe, Arizona and is equally invested in the local Phoenix metro art community. Czajkowski is a lecturer of art for the Digital Photography online program at Arizona State University, works as the sound technician and story editor for the Creative Push Project, is the Curator of Special Projects for Tilt Gallery, and is the former President of Eye Lounge Gallery and Artist Collective in downtown Phoenix. She was the recipient of the inaugural TAFF Award from Phoenix Artlink in 2017, and is the current 2019 [nueBOX] Studio/LAB Artist in Residence.
Andy Fedak was born in 1978 and lives and works in Los Angeles. He received his BFA from New York University and his MFA from the University of California, Irvine. His work has been shown at the Palace of Fine Art in Mexico City, the Luckman Gallery in Los Angeles, the Ottawa International Animation Festival, the Laguna Art Museum, and other venues around the world. Andy is currently an Assistant Professor of Art at California State University, Fullerton.
Estephania González is a Phoenix-based multimedia artist from the Midwest. Through the use of video, installation, performance, and writing, she explores concepts of spacetime and cosmologies from both physics and indigenous narratives, and how they intersect with personal identity. González does this by exploring the complexities of the question, where are you from? This question becomes the foundation for the majority of her work. Gonzalez is an MFA candidate in Intermedia from Arizona State University. She received a BFA in Performance Art and BA in Art History from the University of Northern Iowa. She has been a resident at Guapamacataro, Michoacan Mexico, and La Wayaka Current in the Atacama Desert in Chile.
Sam Heard is an Arizona based artist who got her BFA from the University of South Dakota and her MFA from the University of Arizona. Her research is an investigation into the connections between psychological and emotional experiences as well as physical circumstances. Through performance, installation and sculptural interventions Heard offers the viewer and herself an opportunity to explore the effects of the psyche on our physical state and vice versa.
Gil Kuno is an artist based in Tokyo and New York. Through experiments in the audio-visual and re-envisioning experiences common within everyday life, Gil’s aim is to push people away from paradigmatic thinking. He takes a whimsical approach in subverting common perception of reality. Exaggerated perception and derailed reality are central themes to his work.
Lena Klett makes images about how knowledge is formed- through intuition, interaction, and observation. Using the notions that perspective, scale, and time are all relative, her work investigates how our relationship within different ecologies might shift as paradigms of understanding. Klett uses drawing, sculpture, and video as an ongoing process of tracing, transcribing, dissecting, re-assembling, and transforming information. Her works use abstraction and play as tools to re-imagine an object and bring it out of a readily understood context, allowing for an encounter with the unfamiliar. This speaks to confronting the unknown, the role of myth, and the power and limits of explanation. In her work play becomes a transformational activity which acknowledges the impermanence of this confrontation and through select actions Klett seeks to examine ideas of expectation, translation, and interdependency for a more empathetic understanding of the world around us. Klett earned her MFA from ASU, a BFA from the Kanas City Art Institute. Her work has appeared in numerous publications and she has garnered many awards including the coveted Friends of Contemporary Art Artist’s Grant award at the Phoenix Art Museum.
The Paradise Boys (Lily Reeves and Krista Davis)
The Paradise Boys are an international pair of artists who seek wild spaces in search of freedom from divisive political strategies, restrictive societal structures and imposed cultural norms. They want to be debunked, de-essentialized and decentered as they place their bodies into landscapes that manifest both the nurturing and unforgiving qualities of this world.
Lily Reeves is originally from Birmingham, AL. She works in light installation and has a BFA and MFA in sculpture. Her work employs neon light, video projections, and found light objects, interwoven into audience participation and personal performances.
Krista Davis is originally from Halifax, NS, and currently lives between the Canadian far-north and the desert Southwest. She works in video, animation and performance, and holds a BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, and an MFA from Arizona State University.
With intersecting politics, interests and aesthetic, Davis and Reeves form the Paradise Boys, creating video-sculptures that act as portals to propose what was, what could be, and what may yet be undiscovered.
Rembrandt Quiballo is a visual artist based in Phoenix, Arizona. Quiballo was born in the city of Manila in the Philippines. Social and political unrest would compel his family to leave the country, eventually immigrating to the United States. Quiballo received a BFA in Painting and a BA in Philosophy from the University of Arizona. He earned his MFA in Photography at Arizona State University in 2012. His works have been exhibited nationally and internationally including Albuquerque, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York City, Cairo and Berlin. Quiballo is the recipient of numerous awards, including the ASU GPSA Research Grant, the SPE Student Award, the Nathan Cummings Travel Fellowship and the Contemporary Forum Emerging Artist Grant. Through the moving image, his work explores mass media and its effects on social and political history.
Justin Rodier (pictured here from the restroom of Roden Crater’s visitor center) is an artist and educator from Kansas City. Justin’s studio practice is based in new materialism and salvage accumulation of materials and images. These Modern Specters tend toward recycling motifs and materials of white male high modernism and the material realities of Capitalist Realism. The work often exists as meditations on current political discourse fixated on ballooning conspiracy theories shared via social media. Works juxtapose the aspirations of modernism with the psychological realities of really existing capitalism. These forays into America’s paranoid and violent id often engage with the magical thinking of extremist groups fueled by misinformation from christian dominionists, Qanon, a supposed deep state operative culling America from antichrist evils like pizza gate. Never mind the fact that Q originated in 4chan, facts are no longer relevant as American polarization increases to the point that we’re claiming Antifa as a domestic terrorist organization. BUT! The work stays fun and light. Justin tends to entertain himself and the viewer while making peace with our Post Truth Americana.
Kendra Sollars is an Arizona native currently working in video-based public installation. She received a B.A. in Art from The Ohio State University (2009) and claimed two National Championships in varsity synchronized swimming the same year. Sollars was a highly competitive synchronized swimmer for fifteen years. Her competitive swimming turned creative and professional as she worked as a head choreographer for the Arizona Desert Dolphins synchronized swimming team (2009-2012) and worked as an Artist/Athlete in the prestigious production of Cirque du Soleil’s O, in Las Vegas, Nevada (2011-2012). As a synchronized swimmer, Sollars explored narrative and form through movement and performance. She has adapted that experience into an interdisciplinary art practice that includes video, photography, performance, and installation. Sollars’s work explores our human interconnectedness with the natural world, particularly with water, often using her own physical form as the subject of her work. Her most recent work has been displayed at the Tempe Center for the Arts and Mesa Arts Center. Her collaborative work with artist Lauren Strohacker, Animal Land (2013), was awarded the Contemporary Forum Emerging Artist Grant (2014) by the Phoenix Art Museum and the Artist Research and Development Grant by the Arizona Commission on the Arts (2015). Sollars’s technical experience includes Adobe After Effects, Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Lightroom and Premiere Pro. Sollars currently lives and works in Tempe, Arizona and was named one of the top 100 creatives in the city by the Phoenix New Times (2014).
Paige Annabelle Turncliff
Paige Annabelle Turncliff was born and raised in Brisbane, Australia. After acquiring a bachelor of animation at Queensland College of Arts, she worked for a while in motion graphics and illustration, designing album covers and working in commercials before moving to the united states. She was a major contributor and planner of Cosmogyny, an art show held at Fine Art Compex 1101, and has attended Zine Fest to promote her comic Cooties since 2017.
Hannah Walsh is an artist, professor, and tarologist. Her multimedia work explores alter-egos, primal feminism, and mythology. Her collective, Ordo Helicali, hosts monthly tarot meetups.
Peter Wu generates immersive installations utilizing machine learning, projection mapping, 3D printing, and animation software. Thematically, he draws upon the genre of science fiction to investigate our estrangement associated with technological advancement and modernity. Wu’s work examines how technology is altering our perception of our bodies, reality, and history. In 2013, he was the recipient of the California Community Foundation Fellowship for Visual Artists. Solo exhibitions include R/SF Projects (San Francisco, CA), Held & Bordy Gallery, Windward School (Los Angeles, CA), Vincent Price Art Museum (Monterey Park, CA), Greene Exhibitions (Los Angeles, CA), Patrick Painter Inc (Santa Monica, CA), Power Galerie (Berlin, Germany), and Tomio Koyama Gallery (Tokyo, Japan). He was recently awardedCOLA Individual Artist Fellowship and the Public Art Division commission with Los Angeles World Airports Arts Exhibition Program to be completed in 2020. He received his MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and his BFA from the University of Windsor. Wu lives and works in Los Angeles.
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About Artlink Inc.
Artlink keeps the arts integral to our development by connecting artists, businesses, and the community. Founded as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization by artists in 1989, the Artlink name is a guiding principle for the organization as it supports the stakeholders of the arts and culture community, amplifying its collective strength. Visit artlinkphx.org to sign up for the Artlink newsletter or connect socially on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
About mood room
The mood room is a new gallery concept by Artlink, Inc., a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, that seeks to address the needs of 21st century artistic practice. More than just an exhibition venue, the mood room is an interdisciplinary art space that was founded in 2020 via a partnership with Park Central and with support from Flinn Foundation and the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust. Located in midtown Phoenix, the mood room aims to connect the services that Artlink provides to artists, art venues and partner organizations while supporting cultural creatives through new opportunities to exhibit, engage and grow the influence of their art practice.