De:Formal is pleased to present BAD HABITS, an online digital art exhibition as part of The Wrong Biennale 2019/2020. A survey of contemporary video art, BAD HABITS examines the digital world’s impact on our perception of consumption, romance, politics and the self, with serious humor and through the very medium of digital art.
BAD HABITS is composed of five thematic sections:
Alienating Consumption, Digital Hypnotism, Urban War, Modern Myths, and Utopia.
Works in this section place the audience in a strange world made up of mundane objects to create an unsettling sense of estrangement. In “Yaloo Castle Site,” “((((((0)))))),” “ANIMALIA SUM,” and “All My Friend Are Stones Now,” each artists or artist duo considers the alienating effect of consumption. Each piece re-contextualizes and enlivens something familiar, be it a cigarette pack, a bug as food, a female nipple that gazes back through a reptile eye or a lace pattern taken from menstrual pads, to reveal the uncanny strangeness in our society’s conflated obsession to consume.
“Leisure Time” stages an act of self-hypnotism on a pool float that blurs the division between the enchanter and the enchanted, mirroring the semi-automatic construction of an echo chamber enabled by algorithm. “CLOUD + LABS” creates, in jest, a digital detox guided by an AI psychic voice, suggesting that any promise of leaving the digital world only leads deeper into it. “WALLS HAVE FEELING(S)” surrenders a subject to the power of the digital, taking the viewer through a quest for a lost self in a marker-less techno-scape.
In “the War Zone,” the daily life of an urban office worker is stripped of resemblance to a fulfilling life, whereas “25 minutes before annihilation” maps the fear of a pending war onto the ghostly streets of a post-Communist Warsaw, constructed in VR from memory. “u$aar v3.o” more explicitly shows how social media algorithm is used to twist our perception of politics and reality, our social profiles thus altered into a battleground for ideologies.
What are the modern myths that are woven into our reality without our knowing? “Please be My Valentine” assembles a collage of the production of desire for romance, while “I love U” inanimately records a one-sided dating app conversation that feels tender and scripted at once. In an evocative mood, “Celestial Bodies” examines icons that are constructed by religion, moral codes, and narratives of truth, portraying mysticism as hypnotism, while “Killing All on board” challenges news media's credibility in narrating public events.
In the Utopia Section, "Computer, Spooky" proposes a hopeful future where all is curable, while "Working on My Core" creates an ideal world that begs the question of its own desirability through a humanoid-like narrator. In contrast, “Disco Sweat” diverges from the Ableist logic and embraces the fun of moving one’s body, any body, by recreating Richard Simmons’ disco routines in a fun-filled period-appropriate video. Poetic in its mood and vision, “Falling” creates a monochromatic utopia that defies anthropocentric classifications of the natural world.