Eva & Franco Mattes: Data Doubles
306 Windward Ave, Venice, CA, 90291
May 12, 4 PM - 6 PM — ends Jun 23, 2019
Gardar Eide Einarsson
Paul Mpagi Sepuya
Eva & Franco Mattes
May 12th – June 23rd 2019
306 Windward Avenue
Team (bungalow) is pleased to present an exhibition of work by NY-based artists Eva and Franco Mattes. Entitled Data Doubles, the show will run from 12 May through 23 June 2019. Team (bungalow) is located at 306 Windward Avenue in Venice, CA.
In the early 90s, the artist duo Eva and Franco Mattes realized that the then–nascent internet would play an increasingly influential and powerful role in shaping contemporary life and culture. Devoting their waking hours almost exclusively to exploring this platform — its possibilities, pitfalls, and implications for the creation and dissemination of content and data — they emblazoned their computer with the motto “privacy is stupid.” This deep and encompassing involvement predicted the fundamental insinuation of digital applications into our lives, and these formative years, both for the artists and internet culture and technology, exemplify the modem age: the analog groundings of digital culture, the compromising influence of human bias, problems, and impulses. The perspective underlying their practice hovers between historicist and futurist, recording the rapid shifts of a hyperconnected culture while anticipating the exponential melding of real space with the psychological and virtual space of the internet.
On October 19, 2017, acting on a commission from the Whitney Museum of American Art, the artists posted an open call through their website: Individuals could submit an application to sell their entire personal archive of smartphone photos for $1,000. The resulting work is Riccardo Uncut, a slideshow of approximately 3,000 images and videos dated between 2014 and 2017 set to a loop of Jeanne Moreau singing “Each Man Kills The Thing He Loves,” sourced from the background of a video documenting a dishwasher being unloaded. Cumulatively, the photos describe the shift accelerated by the mass diffusion of social media and smartphones that fundamentally changed the ways in which images are made, shared, and consumed, and by extension the nature of the images themselves.
As the archive’s unabridged presentation unfolds, the photos themselves reveal the inherent editing of ones’ self and life for different people, describing the multiplicity of personalities that orbit around the identity of the image-maker. A degree of uncertainty persists as to the authenticity of this portrait, as oversharing, exhibitionism, and our own voyeurism converge in forming the representation, splicing fact and fiction. Some of the images that intermittently crop up in the slideshow — the blurry outtake preceding the intended shot, the blinking selfie, the duplicate with filter applied — illustrate the active construction of self-presentation intermingled with the raw material, images awaiting their call up to the exalted status update or profile picture.
The artists raise the question of the intended audience or purpose of the photos, and what a “private” photograph entails. In his essay, “Dare to Be Famous: Self-Exploitation and the Camera,” Richard B. Woodward writes that the embedded starlight of photography holds out the prospect that, “Pressing the button and taking a picture allows everyone to imagine there will always be an audience, even if it’s an audience of one.” As the slideshow progresses, the images become increasingly tinged by the outside influence of an expected audience. To some extent, a kind of surveillance is personally enacted and integrated into the taking of an image, shifting its character and the performance of the figures in the frame. Some of the most private images are those that aspire to an audience of none; the haphazard documentation of a museum placard for future reference, an image taking the place of a hastily scribbled note or folded catalog where the camera is engaged in only the most cursory way.
Team (bungalow)’s hours are Wednesday through Sunday, noon to 6pm. For further information and/or photographs, please call 310.339.1945.