The prospect of a collective digital space has often been synonymous with new realms of freedom and opportunities for community. In the wake of the ongoing global pandemic, however, digital spaces seem more and more filled out with apps that preserve social distance while tethering us to a reductive image of collectivity. This has impacted how our emotions are registered and communicated.
In the teeth of all this, FEELINGS brings together digital works by aaajiao, Matthew Gantt, Claudia Hart, LaJuné McMillian, Martina Menegon and Kathi Schulz. Designedly filling out the bodiless space of the virtual, the artists featured create new models of interaction between language and object, self and other. Metaphors, euphemisms, irony can only half-exist on a virtual plane.
In a digital world, the overflowing of visuality makes the distance between sign and signifier, the gap where literary procedures take on meaning, collapse into sheer perception. But virtuality can also create a space for the potential. In LaJune McMillian's VR piece Clarity, the body is liberated from gravity and floats in an ether of forested space. Slowing bodies in motion down to a rhythmic sequence of gestural choreography mirrors what it feels like to reach toward a higher self. Throughout FEELINGS, viewers are constantly shunted around, transported from one zone of experience to another, from one attitude to the next.