Experience It: Jon Rafman

Monday, March 26, 6:30 pm
Jon Rafman, I have ten thousand compound eyes and each is named suffering, 2016
The Lab | 2948 16th Street San Francisco, CA, 94103

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Jon Rafman (b. 1981) is a Canadian artist and writer interested in the impact digital technologies have on society. In his films and installations, he explores online subcultures, multiplayer video games, and our increasing obsession with digital life, virtual and real. His immersive works and exhibitions interrogate how our collective human experience and individual desires are shaped and mediated by continually evolving digital and communication platforms.

Immersive exhibitions that draw simultaneously on viewers’ multiple senses⎯hearing, seeing, tasting, touching, even smelling⎯are common in contemporary art today. Museums, galleries, biennials, and art fairs present work by artists who interweave objects, images, texts, sound, video, and performance into complex and enveloping environments. These exhibitions physically implicate viewers in orchestrated situations, in settings both inside and outside the institution, where art and ideas coalesce through the lived experience of space and time.

Experience It is a conversation series about this work. In close dialogue with visiting artists, the series will examine, among other things, the social and architectural conditions of an exhibition site. The format will include conversations between each artist and the writer and art historian James Voorhies, as well as viewings of film clips, performances, and images of their work to dissect and analyze their multivalent, time-based activity. The series will address questions around the making and reception of this work by looking closely at artists’ practices and processes, their engagement with institutional infrastructures, and discussing how they negotiate the economics of making work. Experience It aims to reveal why artists choose their given artistic approaches, how institutions support them, and how they imagine their audiences as integral to the art, ultimately arriving at a better understanding of the "it" in the work.

Organized by James Voorhies, Dean of Fine Arts and Acting Chair of the Graduate Program in Curatorial Practice at California College of the Arts, in partnership with Dena Beard, Director of The Lab.

[ Jon Rafman, I have ten thousand compound eyes and each is named suffering, 2016; photo: GJ van Rooij ]