Arizona Pavilion @ the mood room
The Valley of Virtuality: From Zenomorphs to Xenographers
Baudrillard’s famous phrase, “welcome to the desert of the real” became nothing short of an iconic moment in cinematic history, marking the climax of the most memorable diatribe by Morpheus in the entire Matrix trilogy. But how many times since the Matrix made its groundbreaking debut has Art in Arizona been written about alongside this cinematic utterance? I would have to say, too many to count really… far too many.
The fact is that our real-life as desert dwellers is split between two valleys that are so lush in fact, that we often forget that the realness of the desert surrounds us at all times. We live in the inversion of the Matrix, where the virtual abundance of water and plant life allows us not to take much notice of the harsh climate for most of the year. Even when the highest temperatures hit in summer there are any number of virtual worlds to escape too. And it is in this spirit of doubled worlds of experience that the Pavilion, The Valley of Virtuality (VoV), aims to bring the two major valley’s of central Arizona together in a conversation that reaches beyond out boarders at the outset of the 4th iteration of the wrong biennale.
The subtitle of VoV, From Zenomorphs to Xenographers, demarcates an expansive set of parameters that describes the work of more than 20 artists who are shifting with the contours of Virtual Reality (VR) by using themes not only from the Valley of the Sun, Death Valley, and “the Valley” of Southern California and Silicon Valley, but also the concept of the “Uncanny valley”, which refers to the proliferation of so many dopplgangers, simulationist aesthetics and hybrid realities that aren’t quite like our own. By using the platforms, routers and other forms of mediation provided for by the wrong, the 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 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 find 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 even analogue interventions, mark the Arizona Pavilion not as a “a desert of the real”, but as an uncanny valley of twining figures throughout 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. Welcome to the wrong valley, the Valley of Virtuality.
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.
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.
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.
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.