Still from Lucy Foster, 'nowhere nothing' , 2021, video, 3:03, courtesy of the artist.
1 June - 31 July 2021
Zoë Bastin, Lucy Foster, Cameron Hurst, NWEB [Hugo Blomley + Clara Joyce]
curated by Karl Halliday
“Every period has its own optical focus.” - László Moholy-Nagy
Last year, with what felt like the flick of a switch, our lives became enmeshed within the fabric of the virtual in an upheaval that was as sudden as it was comprehensive. The digitalisation of contemporary life that accompanied social isolation gave rise to a new visual regime occupying the cultural psyche: that of the invisible.
Catalysed by the threat of an invisible virus, the vast majority of us have become subordinate to digital technologies that serve as gateways to the virtual matrix, an intangible ‘space’ host to its own language, logic and governance, mapped across a complex circuitry of hidden networks. It is in this invisible field connecting invisible sites that we enact our working and social lives via the ceaseless transaction of invisible data, participate in invisible markets with invisible currency in exchange for invisible commodities, and attend invisible events, meetings and classrooms, all as voices occupying invisible bodies, as consumers surveilled, measured and shaped by invisible algorithms.
As internet culture becomes simply culture at large, today, the horizons marking the limits of the knowable world trespass beyond that which is perceivable towards that which is conceivable. Amidst the recent frenzy of online exhibition outcomes, curatorial algorithms, and the growing rage and regulation of digital art economies, how might this shift in visuality impact art, a practice once so invariably tethered to the visible, to the material, to the perceptual?
Commissioned for the launch of MOBILE, BLINDSIDE’s new digital projects platform, Virtual Signalling is an online exhibition project inviting four Victorian artists to interpret the task of image-making for the digital space. Bringing together the perspectives of practitioners whose work spans a diversity of attitudes and forms, Virtual Signalling ponders the conditions, challenges and possibilities of cultural production in the virtual arena at a moment when the margins separating IRL and URL have never been more indistinct.