Cling

Reid Gallery

Cling

Twyla Exner

Cling considers satellite dishes installed on buildings for their formal similarities to barnacles growing on a rock; as barnacles encrust a rock, satellite dishes encrust a building. Satellite dishes are notable for their purpose as sites of transmission between space satellites, personal electronic devices, and the sublime realm of the digital world; barnacles for their ability to colonize and grow on any available surface. Both are receptacles that reach out, be it to receive food or signals, and both often remain attached to surfaces beyond their lifecycle or use. Installed in close-knit clusters on interior or exterior spaces, the barnacle encrusted satellites create a congregation of receptacles that are removed from their utilitarian purpose.
Twyla Exner’s work explores the emotional and material impact of technology on individual consciousness and experience and the various ways in which it infiltrates, permeates, and (re)configures tangible space. Psychologically and as concrete objects, technologies are portable companions and fixed appendages that provide a physical connection between the self and the expanse of digitized information and communication networks. Regardless of our material attachment to these electronic companions, it is not the objects themselves that are irresistibly alluring rather the more immaterial connections they enable.
Our electronic accomplices ensure that we are never far from the people or places of our curiosities and longings and our homes, but as digital experiences replace actual ones, how do attitudes towards our physical environments change? Are we removed from the reality of real-world degradation when the recorded history of the Internet provides us with pristine digital files, easily retrieved and reviewed, while access to accurate information is lost in opinion? Digital devices are evidence of the need for actual resources as a prerequisite for participation in digitized environments. Ironically, this same metaphysical space prides itself as a release from materiality.
But the bits and bytes of the digital landscape still require atoms and molecules that remain based on a physical system of wires and electrical infrastructure. We are all aware of the steady transposition of once precious, now abandoned
technology, unemotionally replaced with advanced, more attractive multi-tasking tools as an inherent process of capitalism. As they are expelled, they become deemed only as problematic waste – the materials that comprise them built to last while unyielding impulse dooms the object to failure. With humanity’s current trend of incorporating biometric devices in everyday life, what becomes of ‘living-electronics’ as they enter this cycle of obsolescence?
The works in this exhibition propose hybrids of technological structures and living organisms. They take form as abandoned technologies sprouting with new life, clever artificialities that imitate nature, or biotechnological fixtures of the not-to-distant future.