Be a Crash-Test Dummy for ‘Disruption of Frequencies’

  • by The Cartellino Team

The fact that the smoothest experience of a virtual exhibition we’ve had so far is entitled Disruption of Frequencies is an irony that doesn’t escape us; neither does it, it seems, for the artists who put it up. The first collaborative project between Celine Lee and Miguel Lorenzo Uy, Disruption of Frequencies comes as a downloadable pack for you to run offline. No installation needed: after extracting the compressed folder, you’ll find an application (.exe) that runs a 3-D model of the District Gallery space; your avatar is a crash-test dummy; the artworks are presented as if the show were physically on view.

So, why do we sense some irony? It’s one thing to present a digital show; it’s a resort when it’s the best that can be done in the time of a pandemic. From the show writeup, the artists seem well-aware of that and make full use of it: the possibility of having the crash-test dummy walk against a 3-D wall isn’t a joke we’d put past them. On online dependency for art display, among others, Lee and Uy write that Disruption of Frequencies “both connects and disconnects to the notion of the virtual gallery and the idea of viewing exhibitions online in this epoch of information.”

Lee Point Line Plane Cartellino
Celine Lee. Point, Line, Plane. Bleach solution on dyed 90gsm abaca paper. 2020.
CITADINES-slash-DOORWAY Cartellino
Celine Lee. Citadines/Doorway. Bleach solution on dyed 90gsm abaca paper. 2020.

The critical remove of the display medium helps draw attention to the conditions surrounding the show (the disruptions). A retrospective of her past solo shows, Celine Lee’s disinfection series began in tandem with the lockdown. At first, the compulsion to clean overrode her urge to make art, and then it carried over. The series highlights the disinfectant solution applied on abaca paper and black fabric dye to make patterns of ‘erasure,’ made of bleach solution and chlorine granules. The artist first exhibited the native material to speak into identity and territory in her solo exhibition at MO_Space last year, A Surface, as sheets of abaca were suspended or hung between layers of aluminum and rice paper (the latter, native to China). Lee is also presenting works made with abaca for a concurrent exhibition curated by Carlos Quijon Jr. with A+, Figure-proof.

Reiterations CCTV Trees
Miguel Lorenzo Uy. Reiterations (1 of 6). Oil on canvas. 24 x 34 x 1.4 inches. 2020.
Miguel Lorenzo Uy. Reiterations (1 of 6). Oil on canvas. 24 x 34 x 1.4 inches. 2020.

Notions of territory slide over to privacy in Miguel Lorenzo Uy’s CCTV series, which features paintings focused on the discreet camera systems perched across the cityscape (observable, likely, somewhere in your subdivision). Prompted by the frequent CAPTCHA tests to verify humanity, as well as the speculation that these tests may be used to train AI to identify images more accurately, the notions of surveillance Uy conjures are chilling. Never mind that online transactions alone can string a consumer’s profile, or that third-party cookies sell your ad preferences for money you yourself may never see. Contrast to the sleek handheld devices we use on the daily, the distinctly crude design of the CCTV doesn’t pretend what it’s for. On the works, Uy writes, “With a constant bombardment of CCTV images, I desperately wish that those who see it form a truth that every move we make is recorded and used against us and our humanity.” It has us wonder: is it a coincidence that the 3-D avatar is a dummy used for experiments?

Disruption of Frequencies continues until September 15 at District Gallery. For inquiries and bookings, contact | +63 917 5373436

Anchor photo: Virtual exhibition view.

All images courtesy of District Gallery.