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Empty When Full – Shape Arts’ Latest Digital Exhibition
February 25th 2022 - April 8th 2022
Empty When Full is part of the Adam Reynolds Award programme and takes direct inspiration from Johanna Hedva’s artwork GLUT: a superabundance of nothing (created as part of their 2021 Adam Reynolds Award). ‘The universe doesn’t care about our feelings,’ the AI voice of GLUT proclaims to its user. What can the AI – divined by Hedva – know of human experience? Of the universe? GLUT asks us to consider the possibility that AI is but a twenty-first century iteration of a primordial impulse, a desire to find meaning and instruction from a consciousness greater than our own.
The black hole at the heart of GLUT creates a paradoxical space for exploration of not just what we are, but why. The borders that separate the human from the nonhuman, digital from analogue, the truth from a lie, are constantly in flux and seem always contradictory. ‘Post-truth,’ ‘false prophets,’ ‘living with Covid,’ are phrases and tropes that run through contemporary culture – descriptions of our times which are experienced most sharply from the margins, where our four artists reside.
Empty When Full can be thought of as an exhibition created along the event horizon of our information age. The four new works created by QEST Scholar Jay Price, MH Sarkis, Li Yilei, and Keira Fox examine through images, objects, and stories the ways in which too much is never enough, whilst often what we need most is absent. The abundance of choice and acceleration of consumption create a multi-layered illusion constructed from packaging, marketing, and ever-shifting lines.
Designed explicitly for a digital environment, the works in this exhibition continue not only Hedva’s odyssey to disrupt the knowledge we take for granted, but further an inquiry into the confines of ‘art’ that GLUT so powerfully strikes out for.