“Pilots have reported that free fall can trigger a feeling of confusion between the self and the aircraft. While falling, people may sense themselves as being things, while things may sense that they are people. Traditional modes of seeing and feeling are shattered.“ - Hito Steyerl from her book The Wretched of the Screen
For several years, Kari Cholnoky has been creating work that oscillates between cellular and macroscopic, natural and synthetic, alluring and grotesque. In this new body of work, Cholnoky successfully compounds both ends of the spectrum. Her signature technicolor clumps of bulbous outgrowth and fibrous germination evolve into boxy, labyrinthine control panels. The structural grid work of the panels serve as vehicles to examine artificial hair and flesh; while built-in plexiglass boxes create informal Petri dishes. These multifaceted horizontal surfaces are swarmed with thermal globules which hover and penetrate delineated boundaries. Heat zones map along the fluctuating planes and hover amid “fleshlights”, fetish toys simulating the sensation of human orifices. These silicone objects are intended for erotic pleasure, yet when set in Cholnoky’s visual laboratory, they are dissected, thoroughly examined, and displayed as elemental components.
Cholnoky’s painting process involves layering low resolution digital collages of past work to adhere to textured surfaces. The loss of information that occurs during the compression of printed photos onto a pulpy fleece is dynamically juxtaposed against real life viscosity. There is also a melange of Amazon customer reviews, product descriptions, and photographs of the ominous sex toys which appear throughout the work. The composites that emerge from this process constitute motherboards of human interaction… bumpy appendages co-exist with modular testing grounds.
In conjunction to the biotically simulated paintings and sculpture, Cholnoky and her collaborator, Dante Lenz, will be presenting a four and half minute looped video of a fleshlight toy manipulated by hand. The sound is produced by a computer program that analyzes the movement of the masturbator so that the digital data corresponds to slow or fast movement. The by-product gives life to the inanimate object as well as indefinitely trapping it within the system of its own technology.
Kari Cholnoky’s “ghosts in the machine” negate mind-body dualism and instead work towards a hyper biology. The chromatic forms, blobs, and growths allowed to flourish and fester throughout the gridded consoles are metaphors for virtual consciousness. In an age where cutting edge technology is extending our lives, one is left to wonder to what extent. Cholnoky offers a glimpse into when flesh dissolves and becomes one with the mechanism it creates.