Emmanuel Van der Auwera – “A Thousand Pictures of Nothing”

Emmanuel Van der Auwera – “A Thousand Pictures of Nothing”

“Humans have now volunteered so much of their lives through self-generated content that archives for individuals have not only become necessary; they have resulted in digital selves that outlive the physical death of a person. What was once a collection of memories on social media is now a seemingly living thing. By continuing to interact in social spaces, they provide comfort to the relatives they have left behind. While the first generation of these ‘infini-mes’ tended to repeat a restricted set of interactions based on data they had been fed in the physical human’s lifetime, the latest versions are self-learning, and able to engage in new experiences. Increasingly, these digital humans have agency, particularly as the physical and digital worlds combine. They engage in inappropriate behaviour, and sometimes commit crimes like hate speech. Government authorities are now considering whether they are culpable, and what appropriate enforcement measures might be for their illegal activities. Grieving families, meanwhile, have sought the help of human rights lawyers to prevent their loved ones being switched off, or in some cases to enforce that they are.” – Rik Feguson

Emmanuel Van der Auwera‘s third solo exhibition with Harlan Levey Projects presents a new VideoSculpture titled Capital Riot, his latest film A Thousand Pictures of Nothing and the cinema-in-negative sculpture Archons which debuted during his solo exhibition at the House of Electronic Arts in Basel during Art Basel Week 2022. Continuing to provide us with cautionary tales regarding the impact of emerging technologies, Van der Auwera interrogates the relationship between the currency of the image and the ‘currency of emotions within the image’. In this new visual economy, the spectator has also become the spectacle, trading on the authenticity of their experience and our sublime fascination with things that terrify, disgust or enrapture us. At the same time the works in the exhibition point at the event horizon, annihilating all impact on the observer. His process of creating an engaging visual experience continues to pull viewers out of their passivity, demonstrating the risk of further transforming reality into a simulation.

Press Release here.



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Emmanuel Van Der Auwera, Videosculpture Xxv (archons), 2022, Installation View Emmanuel Van Der Auwera Seeing Is Revealing, 2022, Hek, Photo Frank Wamhof

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