Chicago-based Dirty New Media artist, Shawné Michaelain Holloway exposes the complexities of her dual dominant and submissive BDSM identity with her in progress serial The Chamber Series. The project is set to include ten performative scores each paired with a partner publication titled The Companion. Stemming from her experiences during Puppy Play — a popular fetish in the BDSM community where its participants personify the instincts of a puppy — the series chronicles the power relationship between an unknown master, her dominant self, and a puppy, her submissive self. The Chamber Series’ first partner publication, THE COMPANION #001 : ACCOMPANIMENT-001_A-REALIZATION__THE-CHAMBER-SERIES-COMPANION.ZIP, a downloadable multimedia puzzle was released on Christmas Day 2017 through the Internet Archive’s HUMAN TRASH DUMP Channel. Two performative scores followed in January of 2018, first PLAYTIME COMPOSITION #001 : TRANSITIONS, PT. I, II, III & IV which was published in UNBAG magazine’s issue focusing on endings, and the second PLAYTIME COMPOSITION I: BASIC FUNCTIONS, PT.(1) DOWN & (2) OUT featured in Predicated. A Recollection at The Kitchen.
The serial is meant to function as a kind of precious dialogue between the unknown master (Holloway) and the puppy (also Holloway), as an attempt for a deeper understanding. The master writes notated performative scores, to which the puppy playfully responds with digital files. Within The Chamber Series ecosystem, this dialogue becomes a kind of keepsake to which we are offered intermittent access. The release of the second issue of The Companion could be released at any moment.
On February 22nd at Yale University, the renown German artist, filmmaker, and writer, Hito Steyerl, presented a speculative lecture aptly named Bubble Vision: Aesthetics of Isolation, which centered on the recent trend of orb-based aesthetics coming out of VR design culture. According to Steyerl, “Bubble Vision” refers to the markedly disembodied process of viewing the world through a parallel spherical multiverse. She highlighted the aesthetics current ubiquity by replicating the immersive experience offered by VR, constructing a 360˚ view of the hypothesis’ pervasiveness in our everyday lives.
Steyerl points out that in VR, the haptic interaction with spheres is a means of transporting oneself into a new space. With the same logic, she guides the audience through a series of curated images of bubbles which advance her hypothesis of their simultaneous importance and invisibility in contemporary culture. “Bubble Vision” is a framework that facilitates this shift, proposing to adapt us to a world where we’re slowly replaced by artificial intelligence systems.
While speaking about the unreliable nature of crystal balls, Steyerl projected the widely-circulated image of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt, King Salman of Saudi Arabia, and Donald Trump taking hold in unison to an illuminated globe at the opening of an anti-extremism center in Riyadh. The artist’s theory posits that our transformation into incorporeal forms is propelled by the current backlash against distorted presentations of information. Experiences are being designed as realist observations to claim authenticity. The isolation of VR, which allows for immersion in foreign spaces without consequences, has made it seem as though it’s an ideal presentation for genuine events. Orbs that appear too real, with too much ease, must not be automatically trusted. VR’s promotion of identity tourism only takes us out of the confusion of disinformation into a world of global isolation and escapism. The Earth seems flat from our perspective walking on its surface, Steyerl explains, just as from the inside of a filter bubble, the curvature, or subjective bias of one’s position, and can remain invisible.
Before their assassination, Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia Romanov led stilted lives. Existing within a family patriarchy and with the threat of a violent revolution, they had little control. Through the artifacts they left behind, a myth was built about their reliance upon each other. Their friendships are named after their self-given acronym, OTMA. The legend of the Grand Duchesses inspired Women’s History Museum, the moniker of Amanda McGowan and Mattie Rivkah Barringer, to create OTMA’s Body,
Living between the spaces of art and fashion, the show functions as a boutique. It contains all the aspects of a clothing store, from the clothing racks to the mannequins to the self-referential decor. With their collage aesthetic, Women’s History Museum augments those elements. Using methods similar to Lou Dallas and Ser Serpas, all of the objects are made from recycled materials found during McGowan and Barringer’s travels. With those found supplies McGowan created her pieces, and Barringer created hers. They collected their finished work and produced a cohesive product. Priced like designer department stores, the objects in the exhibition can be bought and then removed by the buyer. The purchase of the products from McGowan and Barringer’s collaborative process embodies the idea of OTMA. The designers end up working like the four sisters, each has a distinct personality but when brought together they become one body. A body taken apart by the public.