Sixth Iteration: 401 Broadway, 2nd floor
SKIN SO SOFT
organized by Josh Kline
May 26th - June 25th, 2011, OPENING THURS MAY 26, 6-9PM
Gallery hours: Wednesday - Saturday, 12-6pm
* DIS MAGAZINE + Project - Wed June 15 Time/Details TBA
# GEORGIA SAGRI + Two Performances - Wed June 22 Time/Details TBA
Dear SKIN SO SOFT,
How's it going? Whats new?
As the Retro Decade recedes further into the past, it gets easier to focus on the future. What do Spring/Summer 2021 and Autumn/Winter 2012 have in store for us? As always, the American military is a couple decades ahead of the consumer marketplace. Coming sooner than you think from UPS and DARPA
Whole Foods is a false refuge. Lines have been crossed and caches have been emptied. So long, cookies, hello posthuman beings. Twenty-First Century aspiration and desperation are transforming the human body into something that “used to be human.” What do we put in it? What do we put on it? What comes out of it? How can we use it? Who owns it? There's something missing in the room. It's the intact human form. The expanded body's distributed parts are networked wirelessly via the Internet. Your cell phone is a peripheral for the brain. Axe Body Wash is a plug-in for your artificially-tanned skin. Probiotics are like a refresh button for your intestines. Animal bodies adapt to their environment slowly, over generations, through natural selection. Humans alter their environment, adapting it to meet the needs of their bodies and the desires in their minds. Posthumans alter their bodies, minds, and environment to meet the needs of networks, machines, and global capitalism. Survival of the most efficient, most connected, and quickest to upgrade.
Thinking machinery is creeping closer and closer to the body and to the brain. Clutch that Blackberry tight, hybrid. It's early days yet. 2011 is the 1901 of its century. The first airplane is still a bicycle with wings.
In Nineteen-Hundred-and-Seventy, the body provided artists with a safe haven from market forces and the production of objects. It was a site for feats of endurance or willpower, a location for confronting the self. In Twenty-Eleven, mind and body are products and services and conduits for commercial communications strategies. What drives people who are fundamentally no longer human? Promotions, raises, dental coverage, and a 401K plan? An apartment overlooking the High Line?
If the human condition has been exhaustively mapped by artists and philosophers over the last 50 centuries, the posthuman condition opens up a vast and very strange territory. A few Silicon Valley engineers, French theorists, and sci-fi authors scattered here and there, but largely it’s empty, unclaimed, and uncharted space: a transitional period.
Climate change isn't the only process past the point of no return. The rapid prototyping machines are using flesh and skin and their images and surrogates as media now. Black-market organ transplants, shoulder horns, lifestyle foods, aspirational pharmaceuticals, cell-phone microwave messages: this is how we're living today and how we'll be living tomorrow. America is awash in new materials. Raw materials. Waste materials. As we move forward into unpredictable waters, some certainties remain. Artists love a good dialogue with inanimate objects and the local school in the new neighborhood is full of attractive new friends.
See you soon,