Interstate Gallery presents Daniel Leyva's technofied visions of Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory.
Brooklyn-based web designer and net artist Daniel Leyva has built a temple of technology within the walls of Bushwick’s Interstate Gallery. Involving an eclectic mix of media—projections, 3D printing, plexiglas, and even rice—Levya’s exhibit probes our ever-evolving relationship to technology. In the artist’s own words, the work is a study of the blurred lines which “emerge through the abundance of screens, annotations, and overlays, characterized in part by a growing inability to distinguish authentic from synthetic, or to clearly separate the self from the other.”
Upon stepping through the doors of Interstate Gallery, each visitor is given a set of headphones and a choice: either club music or a medieval mandolin (with an electronic sparkle) will narrate your pilgrimage through Leyva’s new work. With the chosen soundtrack, in tow, visitors enter the first room: a minimalistic, metaphorical Heaven. The room is filled with natural white light, which illuminates a minuscule 3D printed plow centered between two circles of rice, a reflection, perhaps, on humanity's age-old impulse for fusing technology with nature. Unsurprisingly, however, the real spectacle is found below, in Interstate’s dimly lit basement-turned-Purgatory. Here, Leyva’s vision is realized through eerie projections of religious and pop culture images on tall, church window screens and candle-lit plexiglas tubes, cupped by plaster hands.
In the center of this spectacle sits an ostrich egg, a piece called Icarus, which the artist has carefully positioned in front of flickering projections of wings. This particular section of Blood Tastes Like Iron embodies the artist’s platform for his design. Icarus the egg offers Leyva’s audience a cautionary tale weaved together with an ironic sense of optimism. It proposes that, as our relationship with technology advances at an exponential rate, we still have the chance to learn from the past. “Utilize the maelstrom,” advises the artist. “Acquaint yourself with new modalities of hypermedia expression.” Who, after all, needs waxen wings in the age of the drone?
Blood Tastes Like Iron runs through October 12 at the Interstate Gallery in Bushwick. For more of Daniel Leyva’s work, check out his fantastically wacky website, or amuse yourself with his quirky tweets.