The internet has ended the planet

Charting the end of the world with 14 of tomorrow's best curators at the RCA

Pionen White Mountain Data Centre
Pionen Data Centre, Stockholm, Sweden Åke E:son Lindman

No One Lives Here is the new graduate show from graduands of the MA in contemporary art curation at London's RCA. The name comes from Gayatri Spivak’s idea about the difference between the planet (the made-of-trees thing that we know and love) and the globe (the mass/mess of networks we're both scared and part of). ‘The globe is on our computers", wrote Spivak in that way philosophers do in her 2003 book Death of a Discipline. "No one lives there". The 14 curators used the works of 10 major artists in their group show, running for another two weeks at the Royal College of Art in Kensington Gore, an exhibition we are proudly media partnering. Over the next fortnight we'll be presenting a daily blog from each curator showing their responses to the brief, above you can page through some of the art, and below you can read an interview with one of the graduates, Ruth Hogan.

Can you tell me the ideas behind the exhibition please?  

‘No one lives here’ explores aspects of the digital age that permeates contemporary life, from the domestic to the political. We, as a group of curating students, were interested in how the over saturation and remediation of images, whether via social media, through open source databanks or citizen journalism, has contextually altered the individual and social rules of engagement. We selected international artists whose work and practice deals with these contradictions and paradoxes. Another important aspect to the show is ‘White Mountain’, an architectural research display that focuses on the Pionen White Mountain Data Centre in Stockholm. Data centres, as locations that house data servers, facilitate this flow of information and data. The Data Centre as an uninhabitable yet populated space acted as a suitable metaphor in the exhibition for cultural digital flow.

Where have previous graduates gone on to work? 

Many graduates from the programme have become established curators at institutions such as Tate, the ICA and the Serpentine Gallery or have founded independent art spaces that are dedicated to promoting the Visual Arts, such as Limoncello Gallery, The Showroom and Electra. The MA Curating Contemporary Art programme was founded in 1992 and is widely considered as an important marker of current trends in contemporary art. ‘No one lives here’ marks the 20th anniversary of graduate exhibitions of the CCA programme. 

How does this tie into your practice? 

The graduate exhibition offers the curating students an opportunity to highlight issues that we collectively believe are relevant to contemporary art practices. With No One Lives Here, we wanted to address how artists today are dealing with new technologies and how the digital condition is affecting artistic modes of production.

Are there any highlights you'd like to pull out? 

Neïl Beloufa’s sculptural and video installation ‘Nice seats and projection’ - People’s passion, lifestyle, beautiful wine, gigantic glass towers, all surrounded by water (2013, 2011) is a fantastic inclusion in the show. The installation is a combination of a film and sculptural work that highlights the superficial language of advertising in a multi-screen display. Aleksandra Domanović’s two channel video installation ‘19:30’ appropriates footage of news broadcasts from the national television station of former Yugoslavia with glimpses of youth culture, suggestive of how national identity   is formed and mediated through television. We are also very excited to have US artist Shana Moulton participating in the show. Her work ‘Restless Leg Saga’ involves the artist adopting an hypochondriac alter-ego called Cynthia, who is continuously searching for wellbeing and enlightenment through the pharmaceutical products promoted by popular media.

What are you looking forward to in the coming months? 

I’m really looking forward to having some free time to see some shows - Massimiliano Gioni’s edition of the Venice Biennale will no doubt be a must see!

Go to nooneliveshere.rca.ac.uk

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