UCLA's Design Grad Show Breaks Post-Digital Boundaries

Students search for a smooth transition from a digitally-oriented life into a digitally-driven one.

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May 16 2016, 8:48pm

Still Life with Yumyums, Theo Triantafyllidis, 2016 custom software, live simulation, 72” HD TV, PC 

As we become increasingly attached to our devices, post-digital questions have become real and significant over the last few years. Neither in a strictly theoretical nor philosophical sense, but in a very real one, the latest exhibition presented by UCLA’s Design Media Arts students, Great Show!, delves into this next-next reality. “We keep looking at our phones while there is a database hack or mass leak every day now,” says curator Aram Bartholl. He tells The Creators Project, “We still like to believe computers and the internet will help us, instead they regulate our everyday behavior to the smallest detail. We need new generations of artists, coders, and anthropologists to break boundaries of thinking.”

Raising issues related to the economy, geopolitics, and sociology, as well as the tech revolution (advancements in virtual reality, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, biotechnology), Great Show! displays a wide range of approaches and aesthetics to question what’s next for us. Existing within a tech-oriented era filled with data drives, wires, WiFi, and chips, the exhibit explores how we'll handle the transition into a tech-driven era. 

Mean Face, Adam Ferriss, 2016, dye sublimation prints on aluminum, 30x40” 

Bartholl says that, through a democratic curatorial process, "the works were developed individually over the last months discussed by the group and selected by the artists themselves.” Thus, students Adam Ferriss, Jesse R. Fleming, Neil Mendoza and Theo Triantafyllidis offer up a series of works that looks at “how society copes with current forms of digitalism." 

Attempting to crack the post-digital dilemma, the team offers up a live, game engine-powered simulation, a hamster-powered drawing machine, and a show-within-a-show curated by Echo Theohar and that features 15 works, all to be experienced at the New Wight Gallery until May 26th. The exhibition shows that, when it comes to the future, the possibilities are boundless.

Hamster Powered Hamster Drawing Machine, Neil Mendoza, 2016, hamster, wood, electronics, mechanics 

Neil Mendoza, 2016 foot, aluminium, acrylic, electronics, mechanics 

L’arrivée,Jesse R. Fleming, 2016, Three channel video installation, sound 

Ayes and Ohs, Adam Ferriss, 2016 marker on vellum, 30x42” 

Yumyums screenshot, Theo Triantafyllidis, 2016      

Click here to learn more about the DMA program at UCLA.

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