exonemo: The Life-Cycle of Interfaces

exonemo: The Life-Cycle of Interfaces will open on February 12 to May 4, 2018 at the New Media Artspace gallery in Baruch's Library and Information Building, 151 E. 25th Street.There will be a casual discussion with the artist for Baruch students on Tuesday, February 27th, 2018 from 6 to 8 P.M. in the New Media Artspace and room 415 of the Library and Information Building.

The New Media Artspace will host an artist lecture and closing reception on Wednesday, March 28th, 2018 at 6 to 8 P.M. in Engelman Recital Hall, BPAC. Admission is free to all Baruch students. Tickets are $16 for the general public and can be purchased here. Entrance to BPAC is on 25th Street between Lexington and 3rd Avenue.

The Life-Cycle of Interfaces is curated by Zhenzhen Qi, Assistant Adjunct Professor, in the Department of Fine and Performing Arts in the Weissman School of Arts and Sciences at Baruch College. The exhibition is made possible by support from the Baruch Computing and Technology Center (BCTC) and the Newman Library.

Curatorial Statement

For The Life-Cycle of Interfaces exhibition hosted at the New Media Artspace at Baruch College, the artists will exhibit a suite of four works:

Documentation about selected works: Since 2012, Exonemo has been organizing Internet Yami-Ichi (Internet black market), a “backstreet of the internet”. Artists and creators are invited to occupy a flea-market styled exhibition space, and sell items that are interesting and unique to the internet. Originated in Tokyo, Internet Yami-Ichi has since spread out to New York, Berlin, Linz, Bursells, Amsterdam etc, totalling seventeen countries and continuingly to grow. “Once upon a time, the Internet was supposed to be a place for liberty.” Today, our relationship with the internet has become so intimate that we are bringing it to work, dinner, and into bed. Yet, many aspects of the internet also became more restrictive and foreign to us. The Internet Yami-Ichi invites netizens to step off-line, “browse face-to-face”, and reminisce about the wondrous naivete embodied by the early internet era. The documentation also recorded other works created by the artists, which wonder freely between spaces that are seemingly disconnected from one another. DesktopBAM (2010) is a performance piece entailing programmatically controlling a mouse cursor to DJ on a desktop environment. It’s a homage to turntablism, born from using turntables in unconventional ways. The title BAM pays tribute to Afrika Bambaataa, a musician hailing from south Bronx, New York, one of the originators of breakbeat DJing and hip hop culture. The dynamism of this performance is created by the mouse cursor, controlled by computer algorithm, to moves faster and more accurately than any human DJ can possibly comprehend. The computational movements trigger the audience’s physicality, while at the same time evoke the “physicality of computers” controlled by humans in return.

DanmatsuMouse (2007) humors with the idea of an electronic interface as an object of spirituality. The video records the process of destroying a physical mouse, while simultaneously capturing the motion of the trembling cursor desperately crawling across the digital screen, beckoning for a last bitwise appearance. The expressive movement of the cursor invites us to reconsider our relationship with a tool, an electronic device, or a technological object. Do tools exist for the purpose of helping its owner? Or do they leave behind traces of their own being? Could a tool serve as an interface crossing the immediate to the grandeur - an alternative space that’s ever expanding but never approaching?

Fireplace (2014) is a video piece presenting scenes of burning optical mice and keyboards as tinder fed into a fireplace. In the old days of “hearth and home”, the fireplace was the center of the living room and family gathering. With the evolution of technology, fireplace was replaced by TV. In some countries, there are TV channels one can tune in to conveniently display video broadcasts of fireplaces. Entering into the era of hand-held devices, where everyone carries “smart” personal technology with them, PCs are joining the same fate as the fireplace, and other technological objects that are no longer desired. So, how about feeding retired PCs to fireplaces? To burn away yet another legacy as we shift to a new world of decentralized personal displays?

Artist Bio

Exonemo is a new media art collective formed by artist Kensuke Sembo and Yae Akaiwa. Initially established in 1996, they have developed a wide range of experimental works crossing freely between physical and digital, immediacy and virtuality—software programming, hardware circuit bending, multimedia installations, sound and image processing, live performance, networked objects and more. Playing with randomness and error, their work evoke a sense of humorous intimacy from tools and machines we usually think of as simple means to achieve finite goals. In 2016, their work “The Road Movie” won the Golden Nica for Net Vision category at Prix Ars Electronica. In 2012, the duo founded an internet secret society named “IDPW”, organizing “Internet Yami-Ichi (Black Market)” in seventeen cities across Asia, Europe and North America. They have been members of NEW INC, a museum-led new media incubator since 2015. Based in New York, traveling frequently between Asia and Europe for exhibition and collaboration, their work is constantly inspired by a renewed perspective on boundaries— whether aesthetic, cultural, geographic, or medium-based.