Featuring: Jorann Abusland Carla Aspenberg Jill Auckenthaler Jeremy Avnet & Soren Goodman Zoë Cohen Kerry Downey Carl Ferrero Carrie Fucile David Gitt Farley Gwazda Shanan Kurtz Meghan McKnight Ian Montgomery Brandon Neubauer Sarah Phillips
An interdisciplinary group exhibition of artists exploring the idea of self-replication.
Self-replication is a process where something makes a copy of itself. It is a non-sexual form of reproduction, sometimes needing a host but never a partner. This can be seen in the most basic living cells that comprise our bodies to biological and digital viruses which replicate to create unseen predatory masses. Eric Drexler, an American engineer well known for his theories in the field of nanotechnology, feared the possible viral nature of microscopic machines. He coined the term “gray goo” to describe the condition of Earth after groups of molecular sized self-replicating machines were programmed to devour all carbon containing life forms (don’t worry, self-assembling robots do exist but they are helping NASA colonize the moon, not causing an apocalypse).
What if languages, cultures and even desires could also be seen to act virally? The controversial field of memetics defines a meme as a piece of thought that replicates itself in the human mind by means of imitation. Memes are viewed as the evolution of human ideology and can be anything from fashion trends to popular concepts. But what happens when a dominant meme occupies many minds at once and what happens when beliefs are no longer seen as individual decisions but invasions by independently replicating units of culture?
Reproducing the self can be seen directly as a reproduction of one’s own identity. All self-replicating entities go through cycles of evolution and mutation; the artist who mutates their identity often creates disturbing and unsettling changes and effects. Replicating one’s own identity can parallel the idea of human cloning, seen by some to be an unnatural and even perverse act. Mutation leads to a shifting and changing of the identity where the humanness of the subject is often uncertain, leading to the ultimate question: if we are not human, then what are we?