For the last five decades, Hershman Leeson has been a trailblazer in the use of new media and technologies, investigating issues of identity, gender-role, the double bind of voyeurism and surveillance, and what it means to be human in an increasingly cyber world and an era of bio- and genetic engineering.
The exhibition features a broad selection of the artist’s pioneering interactive media works and videos from the 70s to the present, most of them never before shown in New York City. Included in Remote Controls are the first interactive video disc, Lorna (1979-82), in which viewers use a remote control to navigate through the apartment of an agoraphobic woman, accessing her fears and dreams, personal history and future; and the sexual fantasy video disc, Deep Contact (1984), which first used touch-activated screens.
The exhibition also features Home Front (1993-2011), a two-channel synchronized installation inside a dollhouse, exploring spaces of domestic confrontation and voyeuristic stances; and Synthia Stock Ticker (2000-2002), a networked sculpture charting the market in a real time via a video of behavioral mood swings.
Hershman Leeson’s innovative work with genetic manipulation will be on display with her latest installation, Venus of the Anthropocene (2016), which captures viewers’ DNA patterns to create a mutating hybrid of mirrored identities. Remote Controls also features the video Seduction of a Cyborg (1994), a poetic allegory about technology’s invasion of the body; The Complete Electronic Diaries (1986-1994), a 76-minute single-channel "video typed" confessional that records Hershman Leeson's struggle, transformation, and transcendence as her personal story unfolds before the camera; and several short video works.
Also included in the exhibition are early drawings and wax sculptures, as well as collages from Water Women, an ongoing series which began as a metaphor for Roberta Breitmore, the persona created by the artist in 1974. These mixed media works capture ideas of disappearance, alchemical and atmospheric connection to air, water and electric currents, and ultimately the fragile nature of life itself.