The complex internal structures of a mobile phone or a PC require not only the extraction of natural resources but also thousands of unique parts to be manufactured and disposed of in a cycle of production that enables us to engage in the digital realm. However, as the scale and potentially harmful impact of these processes becomes greater we must ask ourselves what is the social and environmental cost of our consumer desires?
Digital Matters: The earth behind the screen is a group exhibition exploring contradictions among resource exploitation, ecological protection and technological development through artworks produced in Hong Kong, China and UK. The participating artists attempt to interrogate the material foundations of our contemporary digital universe and its related socio-political and environmental concerns. Featuring: Lin Ke, MAP Office, Ellen Pau, Dani Ploeger, Unknown Fields and Yang Yongliang.
Curated by Marianna Tsionki (Research Curator, CFCCA & University of Salford) under the aegis of Manchester Metropolitan University as part of an industry based PhD in Curatorial Practice.
The Digital Matters Symposium wishes to host a debate around the interconnection among technology, nature and art. The symposium will give artists, curators and scholars the opportunity to reflect on the visual and theoretical expressions of the paradoxical relationship between technological progress and environmental destruction and discuss the role of new media art on the development of a new understanding of this relationship. Furthermore, it will explore how the curatorial space can inspire different geopolitical imaginaries by interrogating the “material alter ego” of our digital technocapitalist society.
The symposium takes place at the University of Salford. Confirmed speakers are MAP Office (Artists, Hong Kong), Dani Ploeger (New Media Artist, UK), Dr Christopher Payne (Lecturer Chinese Studies, University of Manchester), Dr Steven Gartside (Curator, Holden Gallery & Research Fellow, Manchester Metropolitan University), Dr Beccy Kennedy (Senior lecturer in Art History, Manchester Metropolitan University). As part of the symposium we will be screening Chinese filmmaker Zhao Liang's Behemoth(Venice Film Festival 2015).