Arts + Literature Laboratory (ALL) is proud to collaborate with the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art on Digital Aura, an exhibition on view at ALL from May 5 through July 29 in Lab II, and in the museum’s Imprint Gallery from May 20 through August 6. Stemming from a shared interest among both organizations to invigorate Madison’s arts community through creative collaboration, this joint exhibition project also aims to increase the presentation of digital-based arts throughout the city.
Curated by Simone Doing and Max Puchalsky, co-lead curators at ALL, Digital Aura takes Walter Benjamin’s famous essay “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” (1936) as a starting point to explore the concept of aura and how artists are re-inventing its meaning in response to our contemporary digital age. For Benjamin, an artwork’s aura is rooted in a synthesis of its originality and authenticity. Thus, a work that is reproduced in mass becomes simply a copy of something else, a commodity that imitates reality. In other words, the authority held by the unique, original work is destroyed, and the aura lost.
In today’s world of rapid digital proliferation, the possibility of infinite reproduction raises new questions about how to assign cultural value to digital artworks. Digital Aura presents works by Laura Hyunjhee Kim, Cassils, Adrián Regnier Chávez, and Sanaz Mazinani, whose innovations in digital media challenge Benjamin’s assertion that auratic experience and political cinema are mutually exclusive. Through a combination of sublime imagery, ambient sound, and existential thematic material, each work evokes a sense of ritualistic awe while engaging in important dialogues of social concern.
At MMoCA, the videos screened in the Imprint Gallery will rotate over the duration of the exhibition, with each of three artists receiving a three-week solo presentation of their work according to the following schedule: Laura Hyunjhee Kim, (Modern) Formations II (May 20–June 16); Cassils, Inextinguishable Fire (June 17–July 14); and Adrián Regnier Chávez, I. (July 15–August 6). At ALL, Sanaz Mazinani’s Threshold will be on view from May 5 through July 29.
The opening reception will coincide with Bike the Art on May 20, 2017, which will begin at MMoCA at 5:00pm and arrive at ALL at 7:10pm for a reception and music, with a food truck available for dinner. The tour will stop at Old Sugar Distillery in between. Check out Bike the Art for the full details!