Inflected Objects aims to examine how “the digital” can be approached now that it has – to quote the architect and writer Keller Easterling – “escaped the box” and has merged with the deep structures of society. Initiated by the Istituto Svizzero di Roma and curated by Melanie Bühler, the project consists of a series of exhibitions, online commissions and texts. The first exhibition entitled “Inflected Objects #1 - Rising Automated Reasoning” took place at the Istituto Svizzero (May 15 - June 13, 2015) and was co-curated by Melanie Bühler and Valerio Mannucci.
There is no such thing as a confined virtual domain. Computational processes can be traced everywhere and are deeply interwoven in the fabric of everyday routines. This results in a hybrid reality constituted by digital and physical infrastructures alike. As a result, artistic production that deals with questions related to digital culture has increasingly focused on objects, acknowledging the hybrid status of our current digital culture and its embeddedness in a world of material things.
At the same time, the digital has become interwoven with the hyper-capitalist fabric of society: vast parts of the contemporary web are presently owned by a few private mega companies, which capitalize on the content and data generated by the users of their platforms. Data exchanged at a rapid pace is gathered, profiled and put to work, so that more products can be sold. Social media profiles have become commodities whose exchange value is measured in likes, social capital and ultimately sold for hard cash. Never have the logics of late capitalism been incorporated so intimately into our daily lives.
Linking this reality to artistic production, the digital can no longer be approached as a medium with distinct mechanisms and a specific aesthetic. “The digital” as such is hard to pin down. Inflected Objects addresses the question what the distinct features of the present environment, permeated by the logics of informational capital and ubiquitous connectivity, look and feel like. It considers three interconnected phenomena that are crucial to the understanding of digital culture in its present state, while they also feature as vital concerns in the work of contemporary artists:
1)An exceedingly complex and multilayered technological and economic infrastructure silently running in the background that achieves high levels of formal and concrete abstraction.
2)The accelerated exchange and circulation of physical and informational objects facilitated by networked technologies.
3)A state of constant performance that is induced by the fact that social platforms have become arenas of self-promotion, resulting in branded lifestyles.