New piece in Temporary Highs at Bitforms Gallery, New York

Temporary Highs
June 2 – July 31, 2016
Curated by Lindsay Howard

Reception: Thursday, June 2, 6 – 9 PM
Gallery Hours: Wednesday – Saturday, 11 AM – 6 PM & Sunday 12 – 6 PM

Alcohol – Ry David Bradley – Credit Cards – Chocolate – Petra Cortright – Drugs – Ex-Boyfriends – Katherine Frazer – Aiala Hernando – Anouk Kruithof – Likes, Faves, Retweets – Jonas Lund – Online Shopping – Orgasms – Hannah Perry – Pascual Sisto – Sports – Video Games – Addie Wagenknecht – Britta Walsworth – Wendy White – Work

I wrote this press release when I was on an extreme sugar high because I was anxious about posting something on social media, so I found a piece of chocolate and that lead to finding more pieces of chocolate and before I know what I’m doing, I’m standing up and sitting down and standing up and sitting down and I can’t remember what I was anxious about in the first place because all I can think about is how to respond to a text from the guy I’m dating. I like being with him because he’s a charming texter who makes me laugh. I open a new tab and draft an announcement for something that will probably happen, but might not happen, because I have this theory that if I write it then it’ll be like The Secret and the “law of attraction” will draw positivity into my life. I turned off notifications on Instagram because the surprise of opening the app and seeing the orange icons pop up was more fulfilling than watching them trickle in on my home screen. I turned off notifications on Twitter because I like the idea that people could be talking to me but I wouldn’t be responsible for responding until I logged in (but when am I not logged in lol). I hate the experience of mindlessly scrolling through Facebook and not recognizing a single person, but I still keep it open throughout the day. I love the sound it makes when I get a new message: it hits my ear like the jackpot sound in a slot machine, except cuter and more innocuous, or so it seems. It doesn’t matter where I am or what I’m doing, if I hear that ding from Facebook Messenger, I’m on my phone two seconds later. It could be him. It could be her. It could be absolutely anything, ecstatic, tragic, or mundane, and the possibility triggers every pleasure point in my brain. I feel like I’m living inside of a video game, in which every life event represents a gold coin that can be used as a way to obtain likes, faves, and retweets. I see a pop-up ad for a porn site on my desktop and I take a screenshot of it. I double click the image and can’t help but stare at the woman’s face as she’s being fucked. I open Google Docs to write this press release and get a few sentences in before my phone lights up with a notification. Nothing good. I turn over my phone and write:

Temporary Highs brings together artists who are exploring how the structure of the internet enables reward-seeking behavior in a compulsive cycle of (over-)sharing and consumption. The artworks operate in a space where immediate gratification is paramount, and multitasking has become a requisite social behavior. For many individuals operating online, these addictive practices have come to frame contemporary experience to such a degree that they’re considered commonplace. Temporary Highs presents a collection of works that examine the pleasure and anxiety around these experiences, as well as the constant search for validation, understanding, and connection.

Following tested methods that have been used in casinos for decades, the curator has handcrafted a unique scent that will be distributed throughout the gallery in order to evoke feelings of wealth, power, and influence. The scent subconsciously encourages the viewer to spend more time inside the exhibition, and mirrors the ways in which social media companies use strategic design and interaction to manipulate users into becoming dependent on their platforms.