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Digital Bodies: Jon Rafman

Digital Bodies is organized by the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University and curated by Carla Acevedo-Yates and Steven L. Bridges, Assistant Curators. Support for this exhibition is provided by the Alan and Rebecca Ross endowed exhibitions fund and the MSU Broad’s general exhibitions fund.

July 5, 2017–July 30, 2017

About the Exhibition

Erysichthon is the final video in a trilogy including Still Life (Betamale) (2013) and Mainsqueeze (2014). Named after the mythological Greek king cursed with insatiable hunger, Erysichthon extends Rafman’s ongoing exploration of human desire through the metaphors of data flow and image consumption. The video is composed primarily of online user-generated content and clips mined from the depths of the Internet. With this footage, Rafman loops and cycles through the content, creating a kind of digital labyrinth that is as disorienting as it is enveloping. In one clip, a young snake is shown attempting to swallow its own tail—perhaps a critique of the deadening amount of content uploaded to the Internet on a daily basis, while pointing to the ways in which this material consumes us as much as we consume it.

Digital Bodies

In a time of embedded lives and networked culture, where the screen acts as a mediator between the self and perceived reality, technology has ostensibly become an extension of the body, changing our relationship to space, ourselves, and others. Digital Bodies is a one-year program that features videos by artists who use and manipulate digital technologies—mainly computer-generated images, signs, and systems sourced from digital platforms—to reflect on how these technologies have impacted our everyday lives and changed the ways we relate to the world. Given our current state of constant digital expansion and acceleration, these works express the pervasiveness and indispensability of digital culture in shaping our daily interactions.

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