By Jordana Bragg
swfer | Luke Munn | Blue Oyster Art Project Space | 9 May 2015 – 06 June 2015
swfer continues Luke Munn’s investigation into the relationship between immaterial, sterilised technology and the intimacy and physicality of our moistmedia bodies.
[moist media] is a term coined by Roy Ascott to signal the emergent confluence in media art of (wet) biological processes and (dry) computational systems.
The bold typeface proclaiming swfer, as the title of Luke Munn’s current exhibition at Blue Oyster Art Project Space (open 09 May 2015 – June 06 2015) had me at its lurid use of hot pink. Fortunately, on Saturday May 09 2015 I found myself in the Octagon in Dunedin at approximately 2:30pm with half an hour to idle. With the large-scale exhibition Private Utopia at Dunedin Public Art Gallery (open 28 March 2015 – 09 August 2015) looming over me like an obligation I could not fully commit to, and the awareness Blue Oyster was to close in half an hour, I ran to Blue Oyster, and right into an artist talk with Luke Munn and Matthew Galloway.
In the front gallery space on the right wall behind those seated at the artist talk I noted a small-scale pink wall text stating: ‘i-chatmobi’, (iChat – 2015) and upon further investigation it was understood to be a provocation to interact with an online messenger application iChat:
iChat is a messenger application embodied by a ‘Tumblr teen girl aesthetic’, when interacting with iChat a conversation reformation occurs between a ‘decoy adolescent female’ + a ‘predator’.
Citing directly a conversation from Perveted-Justice.com, the application articulates entrapment strategies and the importance of human connectivity/representation/vulnerability online, (whether genuine or constructed).
Against the end wall of the front gallery space a projected text work (Code Swishing – 2014) screens currently circulating Internet acronyms, for example: ‘SWM’, and beneath this the expansion: ‘Single White Male’. This work was initially humorous, yet after time with the work the specific acronyms selected and their intentions became more sinister, asserting a critical awareness, potentially of how these text reductions and their cyber perpetuation simultaneously over simplify and complicate identity politics online (FWB: friends with benefits, GBM: gay black male, BBW: big black women).
Moving into the back gallery space I encountered a disk drive painted white and situated on top of a white plinth (SeeDee – 2014), with a faint soundtrack of the disk burner in operation underneath. At this point I overheard Luke and Matthew discussing “breathing shallow while waiting for emails to load”, which I found extremely applicable and entered back into the front gallery space to stand within ear shot while reading over the titles and work descriptions. In the medium section of SeeDee (2014), it outlined semen as a component of the materials alongside the plinth and disk drive. This particular involvement of the body and, furthermore, bodily fluid evident in the title, yet invisible to the viewer prior to reading the description, provoked me to consider this action in relation to anxieties surrounding uploading the body online and the ever-present yet often ‘invisible’ or little discussed under current of pornography online.
As an exhibition which considers / reconsiders the intrinsic relationship between the gallery space, cyber space and URL / IRL human connectivity and experience, I position this text as anecdotal, a provocation for others to experience swfer IRL (in real life), and to engage with the online components: iChat and the artist talk available on sound cloud (links attached).
Matthew Galloway in conversation with Luke Munn: https://soundcloud.com/blue-oyster-dunedin/luke-munn-talking-to-matthew-galloway