On the occasion of the exhibition ‘Domain Alpha’ at Harlesden High Street, independent curator Julia Greenway joins the artist, Johanna Flato, to discuss some of the concepts running through the show, such as what claims of ‘dominion’ look like in both digital and geopolitical realms.
‘Domain Alpha’ features a combination of web-based works and installations exploring persistent echoes of imperialism (particularly American) ingrained in contemporary notions of digital frontiers free for the taking. The exhibition title plays on the startup convention of launching a ‘beta’ round of a product or platform: in this instance, the ‘DRAFTx.IO’ website created by the artist. Suspended in an interior window, two electric cattle brands glow with heat like dark mirror-images of a neon sign: an ‘X’ and an ‘.IO’. Two research-based projects spin off from explorations of these property-claiming assets.
Artist Johanna Flato (b. 1992, San Antonio, Texas) currently lives and works in London. In her practice, she investigates the ways in which ‘site’ is mediated by language and technology, creating research-based, iterative projects through which these interfaces are made visible. Her materials include maps, text, voice, and algorithms; variable outcomes span experimental micro-organisations, essays, social media series, digital videos, sculptures, and installations. She received her BA in Studio Art and Humanities from Yale University in 2014 and her MA in Contemporary Art Practice from the Royal College of Art in 2018. Recent exhibitions of her work have been presented at Annka Kultys Gallery, Sluice Gallery, RAW Labs and the Royal College of Art, among others. This is her first solo exhibition in London.
Originally from Detroit, Michigan, Julia Greenway began her curatorial practice with Interstitial, a contemporary new media gallery in the Georgetown neighborhood of Seattle. Her work focuses on how digital media influences the aesthetic presentation of gender, economics, and environment. From 2012 to 2014 she developed exhibitions at various galleries and institutions within the region: Bridge Productions, SOIL Gallery, Henry Art Gallery, Seattle Art Museum, Bumbershoot Festival, as well as participating in the Seattle Storefronts Project. In 2016, Greenway undertook a month-long term of research and networking in Shanghai and Hong Kong through The New Foundation Seattle as part of The New Fellows program. She was named the 2017-2018 Curator-in-Residence with Disjecta Contemporary in Portland, Oregon in which she presented solo exhibitions by Sondra Perry, Sarah Meyohas, and Portia Munson. Currently, Greenway is living in London and working towards an MFA in curating at Goldsmiths.