Group exhibition, curated by Steve Dietz and Christiane Paul- Feedforward. The Angel of History addresses the current moment in history where the wreckage of political conflict and economic inequality is piling up, while globalized forces—largely enabled by the “progress” of digital information technologies—inexorably feed us forward. The exhibition title references Paul Klee's painting Angelus Novus, which Walter Benjamin famously interpreted as an “angel of history” transfixed by the wreckage of the past that is piling up in front of him while being propelled backwards into the uncertain future by a storm from paradise (progress). The exhibition, curated by Steve Dietz (Artistic Director of the 01SJ Biennial) and Christiane Paul (Director of the Media Studies Graduate Program, New School, NY; Adjunct Curator of New Media Arts, Whitney Museum of American Art) features 29 artworks by 27 artists and artist teams. The projects are presented, as if in the rear view mirror of progress, in sections relating to five themes: the “wreckage” of the 20th century created by wars and conflict; the countermeasures of surveillance and repression that the state as well as global capital set up in an to attempt to maintain control; the aesthetics and symbolic language of the media of our times; the forces of economic globalization such as outsourcing and migration; and the possibilities of reconstruction and agency. Together, the projects featured in Feedforward create a complex picture of the global political and social forces that drive us forward. The exhibition features both the problematic aspects of the present and future, and the potential for collectivity and responsible action. At the nadir of the current global economic crisis, Feedforward is in effect about cleaning up after the 20th century and asks the question, what is progress now?
In the two Big Box sculptures, models of an American-style big box shopping mall are placed on a slowly rotating turntable. The clean, nearly featureless buildings facades have been modified. In one reality, a trash-filled wasteland, and in another an over-grown jungle. In the wasteland, zombies have made advances. In the jungle, the mall has been converted to a biosphere. A single camera films the scene, presenting it as a drive-by view on wall mounted monitors.