From Jan. 9 through Feb. 14, 2014, the University Art Gallery at the University of California San Diego presents And how are we feeling today?, an exhibition that inquiries into economies of affect, structures of feeling, and emotions as commodities.
The common scenario in which a doctor initially greets a patient with the question "...And how are we feeling today?" provides an analogy with which to consider the politics of "care" in the making and maintenance of contemporary life. Within this context, "feelings" refer not only to socially constructed emotions or linguistically expressed physical sensations, but also to affects - as capacities to act and to be acted upon that are not yet categorized as bodily, mental, or emotional, nor recognized by the conscious individual. Present in all biological and social phenomena, affect figures significantly into our current forms and modes of political control, economic production, and social reproduction in late capitalism. The question of "feeling" therefore insists upon a politics that must operate on the level of affect.
And how are we feeling today? presents documents, videos, performance, sound, sculptural objects, and installations by Nina Canell, the Feminist Economics Department (the FED), Melanie Gilligan, Vishal Jugdeo, Reena Katz aka Radiodress, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Anna Sew Hoy and Wages for Facebook.The contributors of this exhibition variously consider our current structure of feeling through experiments with relationality. Empathic relations expand to electromagnetic waves of radio frequency and other imperceptible scales of matter. Demonstrations of other sensory modes, such as the aural and haptic, induce empathy through operations of resonance, absorption, and support. Simulated spaces of affective exchange introduce rupture into capitalism's psychic and biopolitical dimensions. Proposals for action address certain forms of affect production, in which carework are both paternalistic and feminist political formulations, and social media is self-service as well as unwaged labor.
With these considerations, we are asked to think from the perspective of "feeling" and about what political potential may lie in affects, feelings, and emotions.The opening night of the exhibition, Jan. 9, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., will include a reception with the artist Fedora Archive. The Wages for Facebook campaign will launch, for the first time on the west coast, with a workshop and discussion on Feb. 11, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Light refreshments will be served. All events will take place at the University Art Gallery.
Nina Canell was born in Växjö, Sweden, educated in Dublin, Ireland, and lives and works in Berlin, Germany. Forthcoming exhibitions in 2014 include solo exhibitions at Camden Arts Centre, London and Moderna Museet, Stockholm. Most recent exhibitions include Nina Canell & Rolf Julius at Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin and solo exhibitions at Midway Contemporary, Minneapolis; Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin; Cubitt Gallery, London; Kunsthalle Fridericianum, Kassel; MUMOK, Vienna; Der Kunsverein, Hamburg; ICA, London. She has participated in international group exhibitions such as Intense Proximity at Palais de Tokyo, Paris; On Line, MoMA, New York; 18th Biennale of Sydney; Modernautställningen, Moderna Museet, Stockholm; the 2010th Liverpool Biennale; Manifesta 7.
Feminist Economics Department (the FED) works with imaginary financial limitations. We construct situations where members of the public observe and confront financialization-- in order to see it as an idea that can be manipulated rather than the absolute way of living and being. Through producing experimental moments in public spaces, we try to test and extend what can be considered 'real'. This work involves ordinary people doing extraordinary things - dancers touching the surfaces inside financial institutions, actors selling their nervous breakdowns to pay off debt, security guards protecting public vulnerability by reciting poetry written on the job.
Melanie Gilligan is an artist and writer born in Toronto. Her work as an artist incorporates a variety of media, however her specific focus in recent years has been on writing and directing narrative video works and performances in which she examines major cultural, political, and economic shifts of the present. Gilligan attended the Whitney Museum of American Art's Independent Study Program in 2004-5. Solo exhibitions include Kolnischer Kunstverein (Cologne), Chisenhale Gallery (London), Transmission Gallery (Glasgow). Her writings on art, politics, and economics have appeared in magazines such as Artforum, Texte zur Kunst, and Grey Room.
Vishal Jugdeo works in sculpture, performance, and video, utilizing narrative devices to emphasize the social and material conditions inherent within all forms of exchange. His installations embrace the gaps in a storyline as a way of opening up possibilities for new kinds of relations to emerge. Jugdeo has exhibited at the Hammer Museum, LAXART, Thomas Solomon Gallery, and Witte de With Center for Contemporary Arts and was commissioned to make a live work for Performa 13 biennial. He has received grants from the California Community Foundation, Art Matters, Artadia, and the Canada Council for the Arts. Jugdeo teaches at the University of Southern California and is based in Los Angeles.
Reena Katz aka Radiodress uses live and recorded talking, whispering, yelling and listening to consider bodies as sites of knowledge, and communication as a social and political practice. Through audience participation in public spaces, Katz highlights the relationship between collective voice and the empathic act of listening. Most recently, Katz's web-based audio project, embodied arts collective assembly, was commissioned by the Vera List Centre for Art and Politics (New York, 2013) and she premiered love takes the worry out of being close: public assemblies in bed with queers at Harbourfront Centre (Toronto, 2013) as part of the 2013 HATCH Residency. Katz is the Acting Director at Galerie SAW Gallery, an artist-run centre in Ottawa, Canada
Mierle Laderman Ukeles is "madly in love" with the public domain and sees it as "The area where everyone can be inside the picture." She views her Manifesto for Maintenance Art 1969! as "a world vision and a call for revolution for the workers of survival who could, if organized, reshape the world." Her multi media works reveal our unlimited powers of transformation - from changing degraded identities of service workers to the re-creation of ravaged landscapes such as Freshkills in New York City, Danehy Park in Cambridge and Hiriya in Israel. She is represented by Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York, NY.
Through experimentation in the studio, Anna Sew Hoy invents eccentric processes for working clay, jeans, and items from the everything-drawer. She is inspired by clay's history as a material for making ritual and functional objects. In Sew Hoy's work, daily acts lead to inspiration, where breakthrough may occur when pulling a tissue to blow one's nose. Sew Hoy's work was the subject of a solo exhibition this year at Various Small Fires, Venice, CA. Her work was exhibited recently at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego. Her first public sculpture, produced by LAXART, will be unveiled at King's Park in the City of West Hollywood in early 2014.
Wages For Facebook draws on a 1970s feminist campaign to think through relationships of capitalism, class, and affective labor at stake within social media today. In the 70s Wages For Housework demanded that the state pay women for their unwaged housework and caregiving, as the market economy was built upon massive amounts of this unacknowledged work-and its laborers could be seen to constitute a huge working class. Wages for Housework built upon discourse from the anticolonial movement to extend analysis of unwaged labor from the factory to the home. Along these lines Wages For Facebook attempts to extend the discussion of unwaged labor to new forms of value creation and exploitation online. Wages for Facebook is initiated by Laurel Ptak.
Laurel Ptak works across curatorial, artistic, and pedagogical modes to critically attend to social and political dimensions of contemporary art and technology. Based in New York City, she teaches in the Art, Media and Technology department at The New School, is a fellow at Eyebeam, and together with artist Marysia Lewandowska is co-editor of the recent book Undoing Property? which explores artistic practices in relationship to immaterial production, political economy, and the commons, published by Sternberg Press in 2013.
University Art Gallery is located in Mandeville Center on UC San Diego's campus at 9500 Gilman Dr., La Jolla, CA 92093.
Viewing hours are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Wednesdays and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Admission is free.