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e-flux conversations

Exhibition Tour: 'Egress' at K.

Egress, organized by Sarah Hromack
Artists: Colleen Asper and Kate Cooper
July 13–July 31, 2015
K. 334 Broome Street, New York, NY

“We talk of alienation. But the worst alienation is not being dispossessed by the other, but being dispossessed of the other: it is having to produce the other in the absence of the other, and so continually to be thrown back on oneself and one’s own image. If, today, we are condemned to our image (to cultivate our bodies, our ‘looks’, our identities, our desires), this is not because of alienation, but because of the end of alienation and the virtual disappearance of the other, which is a much worse fate. In fact, the definition of alienation is to take oneself as one’s focus, as one’s object of care, desire, suffering and communication. This definitive short- circuiting of the other ushers in the era of transparency. Plastic surgery becomes universal. And the surgery performed on the face and the body is merely the symptom of a more radical surgery: that performed on otherness and destiny. What is the solution? There is no solution to this erotic trend within an entire culture; to this fascination, this whirl of denial of otherness, of all that is alien and negative; to this foreclosing of evil and this reconciliation around the Same and its multiple figures: incest, autism, twinship, cloning. All we can do is remind ourselves that seduction lies in non-reconciliation with the other, in preserving the alien status of the Other. One must not be reconciled with oneself or with one’s body. One must not be reconciled with the other, one must not be reconciled with nature, one must not be reconciled with the feminine (that goes for women too). Therein lies the secret of a strange attraction.”
— Jean Baudrillard, “Otherness Surgery,” Screened Out, Verso, 2002

“Both the wearable and the weight scale offer the promise of agency through mediated self-knowledge, within rhetorics of normative control and becoming one’s best self. The idea of agency becomes deeply complicated in both technologies, mirroring the complex entanglements of information, consent and privacy. On the one hand, the act of purchasing and using a device reflects an intention and choice, and the ability to ‘know more through data’ can be experienced as pleasurable and powerful. When shared with others, such as in the QS community or wearable-centered fitness groups, it can also afford a sense of community. At the same time, there are complex questions of agency, privacy and consent. The body is tracked, documented and rendered meaningful through a device that records a wealth of data for the parent company, third parties and possibly insurers and employers, and only a small fraction of the potential and value of this data is returned to the user. Beyond the clear economic disparity, companies like Jawbone and Fitbit get to see aggregated data: the patterns of activity (and inactivity) across geography, class and gender among many other possible categories.”

— Kate Crawford, Jessa Lingel, and Taro Karppi, “Our metrics, ourselves: A hundred years of self tracking from the weight scale to the wrist wearable device.” European Journal of Cultural Studies, 2015, Vol. 18(4-5) 479–496

Exhibition view featuring Colleen Asper, “{lightbox, hands}” and “{lightbox, knees}.” Photo: Sebastian Bach

Colleen Asper, “{lightbox, hands},” 2015. Oil on panel, 27 × 18 in. Photo: Sebastian Bach

Colleen Asper, “{lightbox, knees},” 2015. Oil on panel, 30 × 21 in. Photo: Sebastian Bach

Kate Cooper, “Rigged,” 2014/2015 (detail view). Digital prints, looped HD video with sound, 6:22 min. Edition of 3. Photo: Sebastian Bach

Exhibition view featuring Kate Cooper, “Rigged” and Colleen Asper, “{lightbox, hands}.” Photo: Sebastian Bach

Kate Cooper, “Rigged,” 2014/2015 (detail view). Digital prints, looped HD video with sound, 6:22 min. Edition of 3. Photo: Sebastian Bach