The Moscow Museum of Modern Art has been hosting strategic projects of the Moscow International Biennale for Young Art since the Biennale’s launching in 2012. This year, Barbara Cueto has been curating one of the two Biennale’s strategic projects, while the featured project titled Abracadabra has been orchestrated by Lucrezia Calabrò Visconti.
Barbara Cueto invited the artists featured in this show to reflect on the forms of digital dominance and violence, contemporary systems of control and coercion as well as ways of resisting them. Symbolically, the project takes place in the mansion at Gogolevsky Boulevard famous for secret meetings of the Decembrists, while its virtual continuation is hosted on the website CosmosCarl.co.uk, exhibiting the work from artists and activists whose projects are representations of contemporary digital resistance.
Our voices seem deprived of resonance in the virtual realm, consumed and diluted in the never-ending thread of images and data. We have become mere visitors of our own experiences and data providers for corporations. Although aggressions in the digital sphere are obvious, they remain masked under discourses of democratization, protection of and free access to information. To fight against the oppressive yet fluid and immaterial systems, examples of which include Facebook and Google, This site is under Revolution looks for tools of empowerment, mechanisms of distraction, and schemes to regain agency.
Through a selection of works that move across media — from sound to performance, from digital to print — the exhibition explores the power of minimal gestures to critique and challenge uneven ways of representation that perpetuate dominant conventions. Using digital vocabulary to plot strategies of post-digital resistance on its vernacular, the show focuses on how artists disentangle the social, cultural, historical, gendered implications of identity in the post-digital society and explore the virtual sphere as the terrain to trigger civil transgression. For example, the project CosmosCarl encourages artists to reclaim (commercial) online platforms such as Google or PInterest to produce and display their artworks, in a way of demanding public digital space. The work Hyperreadings by Benjamin Forster and Julia Bavyka is an open source software and a series of workshops and an installation, as a distributed archival infrastructure for writing, sharing, navigating and adapting ‘reading lists’, which can potentially become a platform for peer-to-peer education and a way of contesting established patterns in public thinking.
Barbara Cueto’s project delves into the politics and poetics of representation and identity in the post-digital society facilitating new ways of engaging with our realities and looking at them through the prisms of disparity, empowerment, and agency. This site is under Revolution transforms the museum into an agent, and the exhibition into a live scenario — expanding its limits with discursive events such as workshops, discussions and performances, both online and offline.