Simon Denny, Yngve Holen, Haley Mellin, Yuri Pattison, Oliver Payne, Hannah Perry, Jon Rafman, Chadwick Rantanen, Sean Raspet, Yves Scherer, and Sean Townley
Curated by Benjamin Godsill
Moran Bondaroff is pleased to announce War Games, an exhibition curated by Benjamin Godsill, as the gallery’s first project in Detroit, Michigan. War Games gathers works of art, which relate to an emergent practice, that Godsill conceptualizes as “technological misuse and abuse.” Specifically, artworks that use the form, structure, architecture, and aesthetics of contemporary technology (digital and otherwise) to ends that are divergent from their instrumentalized and normative “use value.” In other words, works which somehow shape the feeling of innovation to absurdist but elegant ends.
The exhibition’s title War Games refers to the 1983 Hollywood film of the same name, starring Matthew Broderick. In the movie, Broderick plays a high school computer wiz who hacks into the U.S. Missile Defense System and begins to play the game of “Global Thermonuclear War” with a semi-sentient computer that does not compute it as a game. The film’s allegories are still true thirty years later, and have become important hallmarks of our cultural landscape and the visual arts. Perhaps more poignantly, it is one of the first films to normalize the digital, positing a world wherein teenagers live with computers in their bedrooms. While the anxieties of the film were centered around global destruction, predicated on the Cold War and the theoretical possibility of Artificial Intelligence, the anxieties of our own time feel that much closer. We exist in the age of fuzzy logic and learning algorithms, which increasingly construct our reality – a world rife with pending ecological calamity and endless wars increasingly fought by unmanned killer drones.
Most important to this exhibition is the hacker ethos that Broderick personifies; the brilliant desire to understand systems by taking them apart has influenced an entire generation of artists, and is exemplified by the artistic practices and works represented in this exhibition. Drawing on earlier art movements, including Surrealism, Conceptualism, and Minimalism, the varied artists assembled for War Games are all trying to disassemble the world around them and reassemble it in ways that offer aesthetic, cultural, and even political solutions. As opposed to tearing down the dominant culture, these artists use the very tools of domination to reorder and rethink possibilities. And to a degree, like Broderick’s character, they do so because they are just as interested in the results of their interventions as we are in viewing them.
Moran Bondaroff’s yearlong residence in Detroit will be located in a 50,000 square foot, recently renovated cathedral. This residence endeavors to embrace the city’s local population and to engage with its community. As the art world rapidly disseminates through digital mediums, there is an increased necessity for direct interaction, facilitating an educational dialogue, inclusive of all creative genres. Religious structures can represent the center of a community, so this location inherently symbolizes a meeting place – a space to exchange dialogue and information. These themes are at the core of Moran Bondaroff’s residence mission, aiming to resonate throughout Detroit, and beyond.
A special project by Anders Ruhwald accompanies the exhibition.