To celebrate our Dancing around Duchamp season (February – June 2013) and the lasting influence of Duchamp on the art world in all its guises, The Barbican are collaborating with Queen Mary, University of London to commission three pieces of work from PhD students on the Media and Arts Technology Programme (http://www.mat.qmul.ac.uk).
These commissions each feature the use of digital technology, and are directly inspired by the themes running through our multi-disciplinary Duchamp season including: the use of chance; provocative humour; real life over art.
We are pleased to announce that the first of the three commissions is ‘Status Suit’ by John Wild (johnwild.info), with the subsequent two to be announced later in May.
Mirroring online profiles and our constant social interactions with the world, ‘Status Suit’ is a suit with an LCD screen embedded on the back, broadcasting the wearer’s status updates simultaneously on the jacket and to Twitter. With this constant display of thoughts, feelings and experiences to those around him, personal thoughts are no longer private, opening up the possibility of unmediated comments, interactions, discussions and conflict.
We spoke to John Wild about his idea:
“Our social interactions have been transformed by the emergence of virtual social spaces. Social networking sites, like Facebook and Twitter, incorporate a multitude of mediated platforms in which individuals can communicate, share their thoughts and feelings, and work together with other individuals or groups. As a response to these new ways of communicating, we have devised new ways of defining ourselves within the virtual social landscape – compressing complex emotions, feelings and pretentions into 140 character status updates. The flip side of the unprecedented ease of sharing information, ideas and cooperating has been the loss of privacy and the increased possibility of surveillance, from marketing companies and employers to state agencies or the police.”
How was ‘Status Suit’ inspired by Duchamp?
“Until Duchamp’s Readymades, an art object was the creation of the physical labour of the artist. Duchamp broke with this conception of art bringing forth the idea that the cognitive labour of the artist alone could produce an artwork. The material production of the art object no longer required a direct relationship to the artist. Duchamp’s seismic shift in art production pre-figured, by at least 60 years, the shift in the general mode of production, from material labour to immaterial or cognitive labour. A result of this shift has arguably been the emergence of the immaterial social spaces, such as Facebook and Twitter, which are transforming our social interactions.”
The Status Suit will be worn on the following days:
Sat 4 May – London
Sat 11 May – Berlin
Sat 25 May – London
You can follow the suit on its travels on Twitter @status_suit #StatusSuit