The American Visionary Art Museum has officially opened it s 19th thematic exhibition Human, Soul and Machine: The Coming Singularity and to be frank, its pretty awesome. The show features a collection of work from visionary artists, futurists, inventors, and human rights champions that address the history, the future, and the implications of technology. Looking at technology from a multitude of angles including, artificial intelligence, surveillance, labor, genetics, medicine, and warfare the exhibition intelligently and poignantly asks us what’s bigger, technology or humanity?
AVAM Founder and Director Rebecca Alban Hoffberger curated the show, combining the stimulating and unflinching work from twenty- nine noteworthy visionary artists with prophesying quotations from United States History including the chilling farewell speech of President Eisenhower. In the current state of government shut downs and surveillance dominating newspaper and web media headlines, Hoffberger contemplates the idea that in a digital world, a physical piece of paper may be the most secure way to keep a secret kept.
Putting this question to the test, Frank Warren displays an insightful selection of tech secrets in “Post Secrets and the Tangled WEB We Weave” revealing the intimate role technology can play in our lives. The physical existence of these post cards reminds us of our reverence for the tangible while the content confronts our increasingly digital lives, “I Toilet Text” reads one post card. Similarly a retrospective compilation of Fred Carter’s massive carved figures of knotted wood exude a physicality of the human spirit while narrating a dark premonition of how he saw technology leading us into the twenty first century.
And yet it is hard to imagine the role of technology with out considering the role of the future. From walls of motherboards that seemingly transform into aerial views of cityscapes and Lindsay Bessanson’s, Cyborg Insects , to the sensory smorgasbord of Kenny Irwin Jr.’s Have Yourself A Happy Robotmas!, the exhibition challenges what our imagination can conceive the future may hold, or what the present may already have.
Hoffberger has presented us with an invigoratingly sensory and cerebral journey between the lines of where the soul ends and where technology begins. Human, Soul and Machine: The Coming Singularity is on view October 5th, 2013- August 31, 2014 at the American Visionary Art Museum.