Pablo’s Birthday is pleased to present The Multiversal Hippozoonomadon & Prismenagerie, our third solo exhibition by digital print and multi-media installation artist, Carla Gannis. In her latest works Gannis explores the ways our exponentially mediated and technologized culture has fundamentally reconstituted the body, and with it, our relationships to others and ourselves. Gannis has chosen a futuristic carnival as the setting and metaphorical armature for our ever expanding online existence. The carnival is a site, like the internet, of (dis)connection, where multiple narratives play out—some intertwined, some discrete—over time, yet no narrative is foregrounded, and the medium that sustains them ensures their non-linearity.
The main attraction of the exhibit is a panoramic, hybrid drawing titled, Robbi Carni. In this large-scale, speculative work Gannis relinquishes authorial control, crowd sourcing much of her characters’ narratives to the Twitterverse. Populated by cyborg animals, cloned marathoners, a prosthetically enhanced guitarist and a high wire act who walks a course of abandoned, outdated phone lines, just to name a few, this recombinative landscape, blanched by electrical current, is a new frontier where virtual time has overtaken real time, biology and technology have collapsed together, and its inhabitants’ coding is continually being rewritten.
Central to the production of the carnival is the capitalization of the exceptional body or the freak. Gannis’s contention in these works is that we have all, to some extent, been freaked by technology. Gannis’s menagerie of freaks is comprised of altered Facebook and Twitter profile pictures, which she has mashed up or digitally painted to make new identities unrecognizable to either the donors or to the facial recognition technology that stalks us on these social networks. These digitally mutated profile pictures—our freaked selves—reveal the tension created by eroding boundaries between public and private on social networks. In these works, Gannis asks: Are we performing ourselves for public consumption? What is being consumed? Are social networks the ultimate point of sale?
The changes in production, labor, and market relations during this, our third industrial revolution, have reconfigured how the human body is mapped. Technology and the internet continue to confound traditional concepts of race, class and gender, while avatars, online profiles, mobile communication devices, prosthesis and other virtual proxies daily expand how the human body is defined in space and time. But the price of these potentialities, these seeming advances in corporeal constitution, is high. Our de-centered, elliptical bodies have become sites for target marketing, mere shells for iterable subjectivities, and exist socially as hyper-representations—this is the new democratic, American self, rendered in Gannis’s The Multiversal Hippozoonomadon & Prismenagerie.