While preparing for the first DATA event with guest artists Gretchen Andrew and Penny Slinger, I kept returning to this question: how might a revision of the art history canon to include the importance of technology look?
It would be a story of true subversion, free of woolly descriptors like critiquing, testing, provocation or resistance. Maybe it would subvert the idea of individual ownership of the works of imagination. It would perhaps replace the brick and mortar of institutions of culture with floating museums. And most importantly, it would be told as seen through personal encounters, pioneering dialogues, collaborative projects, and cultural exchanges.
© Courtesy of the artist.
One such fascinating personal encounter is between artists Penny Slinger and Gretchen Andrew. When you get lost into their work you realise that they are both deeply preoccupied with how the human mind is hijacked or influenced by things that it doesn’t see or that are not immediately apparent. What we experience both through Penny’s collages and through Gretchen’s engineered live search results is a silent rebellion against pattern recognition. If their work unsettles us I suspect it’s because it reminds us of how it feels to dream wider, to think and choose freely.
Gretchen’s work will open your mind to a whole world of algorithmic oppression and especially to the gender data gap in which datasets are not only constantly under-representing women, but also misrepresenting them. Penny’s complex body of work will also be an eye-opener in that she similarly acknowledges and participates in the structures of power and prohibition she seeks to transgress and then operates from within to disrupt those very structures. Positively insidious indeed.
I can’t wait to hear how they cope with the constantly evolving set of expectations regarding reputation, recognition and what is considered “creative”, but also how they cope with the art world’s gatekeepers, whose social approval governs these expectations. We can all learn from how their unpatronising audience-exchanges have nurtured their artistic communities.
Gretchen Andrew and Penny Slinger and Dhiren Dasu © Courtesy of the artists and Blum and Poe Gallery
About the Artist
Gretchen Andrew (born in California, 1988) is a Search Engine Artist and Internet Imperialist who programs her vision boards to manipulate the internet with art and desire.
She trained in London with the artist Billy Childish from 2012-2017. In 2018 the V&A Museum released her book Search Engine Art.
Penny Slinger (born England, 1947) is an artist/author based in California. A collage artist, she works in different mediums – including photography, film, sculpture and digital arts. A feminist surrealist, exploring the nature of the self. Internationally exhibited, represented by Blum and Poe (LA) and Richard Saltoun Gallery, (London).
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