(+dis-)embodiment is an exhibition by techno-feminist collaboration Proxy Mund that play
with ideas of hegemony,
self-optimisation and work culture. The duo present over 70 images of 3D scanned hands which pop
up in a sequence of random loops,
each picture dotted across the screen in varying sizes and orders with every refresh. This is
the first show by External Pages, an
online exhibition space that focuses to develop a new wave of net art relating to
post-capitalist and xenofeminist thought.
Often applied as a reference to agency and free will, the representation of hands in this exhibition instead looks at how they are vehicles of compulsory production, and function as elements that define labour in both productive and reproductive (such as self-optimising) work. With the idea of physicality wanting to achieve “non-physicality” — fingers working to create virtual content or bodies enhancing to attain happiness — Poxy Mund explore the possibility of defining our anatomies beyond biological borders.
Using 2D screenshots of 3D scans, the pictured arms have a deceivingly interactive aesthetic to them and an audio track automatically plays on loop in the background, teasing the viewer with negligible command over what is happening on the webpage. (+dis-)embodiment applies this lack of power for the user to further question the agency involved in self-reinvention and the consequences of our online identities.
While Proxy Mund’s hands are here viewed as connectors between identity and its surrounding environment, we are introduced to "the lie of disembodied cyberspace" (C. Kraus, I Love Dick, 1997) and how the tangible and intangible operate as non-binary units.
Proxy Mund is an art project made up of Eleni Odysseos and Sofia Albina Novikoff Unger. They examine the connections between technology and the body, reflecting on economic, ecological and feminist discourses. Their medium is a combination of text, sound art, video, 3D modelling & scanning, motion capture, and sculptural objects. Based in London and founded at the Goldsmiths MFA Fine Art course, they are from Russian, Danish and Cypriot backgrounds.
Edited by Chris Hayes
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In a translucid internet experience, Acqua Vrzal presents us
with ?/§nake/girl/?, the second show by online exhibition space, External Pages.
Currently transitioning from visual to movement, dance and performance art in Berlin, Vrzal’s practice has largely consisted of anonymous admin work, graphic design, and self-portraiture that she “mutilated” by editing and collaging, published under multiple aliases.
This is explored further in the disfigurement of computer graphics or online photography in our first solo show with the interdisciplinary artist. Vrzal introduces us to six main digitally-manipulated pictures that have either been stockpiled from google images or shot through her webcam. They float around our browser in multilayered arrangements and twisted, gelatinous pulsations while little visual assemblages of moths or winged “fairies” are randomly scattered, hovering between the self-portraits like spirit animals. Normal maps are stretched and used as background sets or core elements of a composition while reptiles, aliens and insects append to her photographed skin. References of eggs crop up in a variety of symbols, poems, urls and selfies, which oppose the incessant question of “girl or boy” with “girl or snake”.
While the page is laid out in ways that reminds us of a tumblr blog code that’s been fucked with, the topic of the show rests on how the artist copes with dysphoria, accumulated from her “tumblr trans teenager times”. Mixing liquify filters and magic wand selection tools in Photoshop with glitches and lags in CSS animation filters, ?/§nake/girl/? marries gentle fluid movements with distortion, and asks us what alternatives can be found in exploring the self via grainy DIY imagery and fantasy narratives.
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Fully committing to gush out her browser content in Overshare,
Tyson collaborates with
External Pages to produce it's third exhibition of the year.
Between the 12th and 18th of June, 2018, Tyson shares the entirety of her online activity with us, that for some would seem too personal, to examine how we give out information that nobody asks for. Her internet history is completely disclosed and used as a structural basis for her video Overshare, which has been recreated as a website experience for External Pages. The virtual timeline demands to be scrolled through as short, private notes appear along the list of visited URLs, which vary from social media and online shopping services to sex work websites. Vines located next to these intimate logs automatically play only when visible, like reaction gifs on twitter, and alleviate her confidential entries from the contextual soreness of topics that cover emotional insecurity, mental health, and sex addiction.
The low-cost/brow/res multimedia artist showcased Overshare during September 7th — 13th at Chelsea College of Art, London, September 22nd at The Royal Standard as part of “Bye Hun!” for the School of the Damned handover show, and October 25th at Hotel Elephant as part of Micro Acts 4.
Georgina Tyson focuses on sex work, social class and the internet, and runs low_res_camera_roll, an instagram residency account. She is currently looking at the fetishisation of food and working class culture via personal experiences in the sex industry and art academia.
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External Pages presents its fourth exhibition titled a memory, built by Toronto-based
artist and designer
Embedded in the centre of Davidson's web-page, a round-edged frame displays a poem which loses parts of itself every time the page is loaded. With each successive visit to this website, the poem renders a newly fragmented text, and the previous text is deleted permanently. This process repeats until the full poem is completely erased, predisposing a blankness that is collectively produced by site visits of past internet users. By viewing the poem, the visitor automatically agrees to participate in destroying it.
As a co-founder of the design and technology studio 4 us and 4 others (past: 56, Temporary Studio), Davidson continues to think about the impermanent connections between people and art — especially in digital contexts — and how that may reflect in personal relationships in general. Their multidisciplinary coding practice retains writing as a foundational medium, having published their first poem in damp (archive), a group web project that requires user interaction and object orientation to unveil texts. Davidson’s past work has been exhibited at Ambiguous Ardour, Furthermore, and Centerfold Gallery, where they later became a creative director and partner.
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UPDATE: a memory's poem is now entirely deleted due to a sufficient amount of site visits. Enter to
For its fifth exhibition External Pages collaborates with digital artist and designer
Anna Tokareva to display
BYMG™, a fictional pharmaceutical
Fade and slide animations, habitually implemented in commercial websites to reveal dramatic background images and marketing slideshows, are instead employed to unveil Tokareva’s graphics in BYMG™. Molecular diagrams, schematic cell structures and labeled bin-genome networks are mutated and modified, displaying colourful hyperreal imitations of technical drawings. Various illustrations appear and vanish on random mouse hover commands, while others ease in and out of the window.
Baba Yaga Myco Glitch uses aesthetic means and promotional tactics from biotech companies that seek to enhance their online presence, to question their effect in producing vague company ethea and cryptic narratives. By adapting a specific set of UI and UX methods to increase website visibility, BYMG™ explores how such SEO processes encourage a fabrication of ambiguous tales around medical research institutions. Tokareva has executed this through designing BYMG’s website as a front for the ulterior motives of the antagonistic Baba Yaga, a character often described in Slavic folklore as a villainous witch with equivocal intentions.
While this project aims to expose such storytelling procedures found in SEO management, Tokareva has faith in BYMG™. Baba Yaga’s intentions are routed in miscellaneous alchemic experimentation with chemical reactions, generative codes and homespun agency. The lab’s secret objectives lie in spreading their wild yeasts and self-growing cultures to infect its users with hallucinogenic visions of alternative futures.
Currently based in London and working in digital project management, Anna Tokareva (Rostov-na-Donu, 1988) explores entanglements between technoscience and contemporary mythologies, at micro and planetary scales. Her work has been exhibited in Auckland, Edinburgh and Madrid. Her essay “Nooscope: The Political Myth of Planetary Scale Computation” was recently published by the Digital Cultures Institute in New Zealand.
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External Pages presents it’s sixth online exhibition in collaboration with
series, titled Daddy Residency. Built by digital artist Nahee Kim, the single-page site displays an “open call
for daddies”, where users are given the opportunity to apply for a co-parenting
experience with the artist. The residency will begin in 2025 when her planned pregnancy by
artificial insemination is expected to
Using the faces of a hexagonal prism to set out the call’s content information, viewers are guided through it’s sections via arrow buttons. Animated reproductive cells and faintly glowing diagrams are tinted with soft hues of pink and blue throughout Kim’s background imagery. As we click through each paragraph, she states her conditions, expectations, selection process and the advantages of joining this experimental family “deployment”. She offers a stipend, her home as a place of residence and the priceless enlightenment of parenting experience, while requiring the applicant to be able and willing to relocate, attend family meetings and events, speak fluent English and Korean and be at least 30 years old by 2025.
Nahee Kim is an artist and a web developer exploring the programmability of human sexual behavior, a former resident at MassMOCA and member of Soft Surplus and Eobchae. Based in New York and Seoul, she graduated from School for Poetic Computation and now studies and teaches at Hunter College.
This show will continue as External Page’s featured exhibition until October 6th.
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External Pages is delighted to present Maz, which ran from the 3rd of November until the
begnning of February 2020. This
newly commissioned work represents a significant shift for the artist Maz Murray, who is working
in a web based context for the
first time to explore themes of gender identity and labour in the service industry. In contrast
to the tales of triumph that often
define much of emancipatory queer discourses in popular culture, this exhibition admits to
brittle uncertainties of bodies existing
and moving through time, as rooted in the experiences of the artist. This is the seventh
exhibition by the gallery, and as always is
accessible at any time from any browser.
The work invites visitors to click on ellipsis icons, which in turn reveal text and video. The unfolding narrative describes a non-linear progression of discovery through the artist’s gender identity. These interactive elements play with the idea of a personal journal entry, documenting a story that sits between confusion, guilt and shame. Putting identity and work into conversation is an intentional strategy by the artist, as they write, “this game has the illusion of choice, you are along for the ride - just like me!”
Inspired by genres of trauma, porn and tragedy, Maz is connected with Andrea Long Chu’s ideas of unwanted impulses “at a time when I’m feeling very abducted by my own desires”. With overwhelming amounts of information on the internet perplexing our reality, Murray instead allows the viewer to breathe by documenting the personal:
“Interrogating my need to turn these thoughts into art to be deemed valid or useful - I don’t have time to transition otherwise - and using it to talk about the ways trans identities can be co-opted and/or destroyed by neoliberal capitalism.”
About the artist
Maz Murray (they/he) makes trashy and hopeful films, performances, fiction and public facing bits n bobs. Their work is about queerness, working class culture and sense of place. Maz is currently making some trans satire while waiting for new episodes of Riverdale to come out.
Previous projects include a short film “Laindon” which was recently premiered at ICA, selected for London Short Film Festival 2019 and screened at Directions Bas 1, New Town Sounds and Mascara Film Club. They have collaborated with Hava Carvajal on a critical writing project The Right Lube, and produced a tongue-in-cheek research and performance project about compulsory heterosexuality and ethical consumption, culminating in a public workshop. Maz’s video work has screened across the UK as part of Playback Festival, at Focal Point Gallery, South London Gallery and Genesis Cinema among others.
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BLACK MEME opens on External Pages.
The founding theorist of Glitch Feminism explores the contributions of blackness to digital space in newly exhibited work. External Pages is pleased to announce their eighth exhibition, BLACK MEME, a show of new work by award-winning writer, curator, and artist Legacy Russell.
The founding theorist of Glitch Feminism, Russell’s first book of the same name will be released this coming September 2020 with Verso Books. This exhibition further explores the concerns that have established Russell as a leading voice in debates surrounding the politics of the Internet.
BLACK MEME (2020) is, in the words of the artist, a “video essay” in an interactive digital space, which explores questions of black visual culture from 1900 to the present day. Through archival media and found footage, Russell explores the construction, culture and material of the “meme” and it’s relationship to blackness, black life, and black social death.
“Memes are not neutral. The labor enacted through black meme culture raises questions about subjectivity, personhood, and the ever-complicated fault lines of race, class, and gender performed both on- and offline. I want to talk about the economy and engine of this and perhaps push further a discussion about how we can hold ourselves accountable to how this material is produced and circulated.”
– Legacy Russell
Situated on a 3D interactive laptop which hovers against a black background, the video begins with the question "what is a black meme?” typed into Blackle, a website first launched by Google in 2007 that aims to save energy by displaying a black background. Working backwards in time from Beyoncé’s 2016 song “Formation”, key references include Rodney King’s 1991 beating at the hands of the LAPD, the documentation of which came to be known as the world’s “first viral video”; Michael Jackson’s legendary 1983 music video “Thriller”; and the 1913 film “Lime Kiln Field Day”, celebrated as the oldest surviving film to feature black actors. Over its 20 min 51 sec duration, through pacing, distortion and abrupt edits, Russell weaves a considered and unexpected story of black culture and its impact on the Internet meme as we now know it.
As an artwork, BLACK MEME posed design challenges for the online gallery, resulting in a redesign of the website to reflect the broader themes present in the video essay. The black background confronts widely held assumptions about the “skin” of website design – typically white – and creates a distinct environment for the artwork. Reflecting debates within Net Art, the supposed neutrality of these choices are exposed as reflecting deeper racial and political bias.
Key to every External Pages exhibition is the technical ability to deliver ambitious digital environments. The gallery doesn’t require exhibiting artists to have the coding skills required to develop these complex frameworks. Instead, they provide web development support to artists in realising these ambitious digital projects.
“It’s a vibrant time for digitally based projects, but there’s a lack of criticality in what is being shown, how it is being exhibited and why. As galleries and institutions rush to reimagine their programmes online, we need to think of browsers as seriously, and politically, as physical exhibition spaces. We can’t replace the white cube with the white browser.”
– Ana Meisel, curator of External Pages
BLACK MEME ran from Thursday 16 April to 18 June 2020. The video essay was previously screened by Ori Gallery alongside “Eulogy For A Black Mass” (2018) by Aria Dean, and at Pacific Northwest College of Art in February 2020. Forthcoming screenings will take place at Yale University as part of its Art and Media Project (AMP) and USC Roski (dates to be announced).
About the artist
Legacy Russell is a curator, writer, and artist. Born and raised in New York City, she is the Associate Curator of Exhibitions at The Studio Museum in Harlem. Recent curated exhibitions include Projects 110 : Michael Armitage, organized with Thelma Golden and The Studio Museum in Harlem at MoMA (2019); Dozie Kanu : Function (2019); Chloë Bass : Wayfinding (2019); Radical Reading Room (2019) at The Studio Museum in Harlem; and MOOD : Studio Museum Artists in Residence 2018-19 (2019) at MoMA PS1. Russell’s ongoing academic work and research focuses on gender, performance, digital selfdom, internet idolatry, and new media ritual. She is the recipient of the Thoma Foundation 2019 Arts Writing Award in Digital Art and a 2020 Rauschenberg Residency Fellow.
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External Pages’ tenth exhibition takes the form of a questionnaire
“The purpose of art is to lay bare the questions hidden by the answers”
– James Baldwin (1962)
“The moment you begin to paint, you begin to construct. Art has to be the quest for something.” – Sam Gilliam (2007)
External Pages is delighted to present their tenth exhibition of a newly commissioned piece by Rhea Dillon titled Uchronia et Uchromia which runs from 8 November – 31 December 2020.
Uchronia et Uchromia is a new interactive artwork by Rhea Dillon. By taking the form of an online questionnaire, the net artwork highlights the process of being questioned in the context of the Black experience today.
This title combines ‘Uchronia’, meaning an alternate history or hypothetical time period, with François Laruelle’s ‘Uchromia’ which is “to learn to think from the point of view of Black as what infuses color, in the last instance, rather than what limits it.” There's a phonetical resonance too, as it sounds like uchronia ‘ate’ uchromia, which suggests the violence Black people are subject to as well as the ways in which Black culture is exploited.
Questionnaires are a tool used by many institutions across society such as entrance exams in education, which operate as gatekeeping mechanisms. By adopting this framework, ideas of power, control and inequality come to the fore. Referencing how her own experiences shaped the artwork, Dillon emphases that the endless supply of questions that demand existential and fugitive thinking represents “the interrogation of a Black person in our society: there are hardly ever any answers, or information.”
The interactivity of the artwork speaks to Françoise Vergès writing on the invisibility of the Black and Brown cleaners in the capitalocene: “The performing male neoliberal body has another kind of “phantom” body that enables his limitless performance.” The questionnaire acts as its own kind of limitless performance, as to experience the exhibition the viewer is required to answer questions with no indication of the quantity or duration ahead.
Once the viewer completes the questionnaire, they can download a personalised poster of (their own) fragmented language, referencing the composition of asemic and concrete poetry. A custom-made font, ‘Nemesis’, has also been produced for the piece by graphic artist and designer Effie Crompton.
The beginning of this text quotes two great practitioners. Dillon engages with other artists and thinkers throughout the questionnaire in this plight for her own questions deserving answers as well as those left unanswered in books, papers and poetry from the likes of Pope.L to Mildred Howard to Bhanu Kapil. Dillon’s questions are an inescapable confrontation between the ontology and the ontic of each individual sitter. It is not merely to get answers but to encourage discussion to grow and expand filtering into your homes as an ever present, ever aware and eye opening probe for the fundamental question: when you don't know where to begin, where do you start?
About the artist
Rhea Dillon is an artist and writer based in London. Using video, installation, images, painting and olfaction, she examines and abstracts her intrigue of the ‘rules of representation’ as a device to undermine contemporary Western culture. She is particularly interested in the self coined phrase ‘humane afrofuturism’ to describe a practice of bringing forward the humane and equality-led perspectives on how we visualise Black bodies. Her work has been exhibited at Almine Rech, London; DRABL, Paris; The British Film Institute, London; Mimosa House, London; and Sanam Archive, Accra Ghana, to name a few.
She is an Associate Lecturer at Central Saint Martins, London.
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External Pages is an online exhibition space, presenting digital projects inspired by
anti-capitalist and xenofeminist thought.
Every other month, we showcase an artist or collective who push the potential of viewing art on
our browsers. External Pages exists
on the outskirts of the Internet, where bottom-up approaches to public art can be explored.
Our projects experiment with web coding to question the placement of internet art in galleries, cheat curatorial hierarchies and look at how websites can be appropriated as an emancipatory technology. Encouraging the use of art practice to rethink web-based functionalities, we provide any coding assistance for the artists who have full control over how the show is curated.
We are always looking for artists, curators or collaborators that want to get involved. To ask
questions, talk about a project or
join External Pages, please do not hesitate to email Ana or message us
on social media – we’re on
So far, EP has received incredible
support through various means, such as: theory insight from
HSWND, editing by
and direction and web development
help from Mackenzie
All code: Github.
Reading channel: Are.na.
Rolling application to exhibit with us: Google Form.