Since the second half of the 20th century, we have lived under the shadow of two clouds: the mushroom cloud of the atomic bomb, and the ‘cloud’ of distributed information networks. How did the central metaphor of cold war paranoia become the utopian metaphor of today? ‘Under the Clouds’ explores the contemporary sublime that has replaced the natural one, and the interrelated effects and affects of these two clouds on life and work, leisure and love, and on images, bodies, and minds.
The post-war technologies of the emergent third industrial revolution have now evolved to fit in the palm of our hand; we no longer merely look at images, we now touch, scroll, pinch, and drag them. Where is the border between the self and its data shadow, between information, matter, and affect? The biological, economic, aesthetic, and political effects of living under the clouds has taken the form of new relations between data and material, as well as increasing debt and abstract financialization; the changing nature of work and sex; and new relationships between screens, images, and things. As earlier forms of technologically inflected art sought to mitigate the effects of change — both on perception and society — many of today’s artistic practices confront the myriad interfaces and decentralized networks that continue to shape and transform daily life, forming new evolving connections between bits and atoms.
Adel Abdessemed, Horst Ademeit, Cory Arcangel, Arte Nucleare, Darren Bader, Enrico Baj, Robert Barry, Eduardo Batarda, Thomas Bayrle, Neïl Beloufa, René Bertholo, Joseph Beuys, K.P. Brehmer, Bruce Conner, Kate Cooper, Gregory Corso, Guy Debord, Harun Farocki, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Carla Filipe, General Idea, Melanie Gilligan, Jean-Luc Godard & Anne-Marie Miéville, Peter Halley, Rachel Harrison, Mona Hatoum, Pedro Henriques, Thomas Hirschhorn, Yves Klein, Sean Landers, Elad Lassry, Mark Lombardi, Julie Mehretu, Katja Novitskova, Ken Okiishi, Trevor Paglen, Nam June Paik, Silvestre Pestana, Pratchaya Phinthong, Seth Price, Martha Rosler, Thomas Ruff, Jacolby Satterwhite, Ângelo de Sousa, Frances Stark, Haim Steinbach, Hito Steyerl, Jean Tinguely, Adelhyd van Bender, Stan VanDerBeek, Andy Warhol, Christopher Williams, Christopher Wool, Anicka Yi
‘Under the Clouds’ is curated by João Ribas, Deputy Director and Senior Curator, Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art.
Image: Nuclear Bomb Explosion, Baker test, Bikini, 25 July 1946. Photo: Getty Images