CLAUDIA HART | LONDON
EXPANDED.ART is delighted to present the solo exhibition MY TRAVELS IN HYPERREALITY by Claudia Hart in collaboration with Annka Kultys Gallery on view in London and online. Curated by Annka Kultys and Anika Meier, the exhibition showcases seven video projects that span two decades of the artist’s creative output.
Published almost three decades ago, Donna Haraway’s A CYBORG MANIFESTO (1985) situated the then-burgeoning field of cybernetics into post-human, post-gender politics; it is a project of collaging excesses, advocating for an embodied ethos of both/and versus either/or. "The cyborg is a kind of disassembled and reassembled, postmodern collective and personal self," writes Haraway, "This is the self feminists must code." Within the expansive practice of Claudia Hart, such tactics of (self-)dissolution and recoding appear through a dazzling array of digital media and techno-philosophical approaches.
In an interview published in the International Journal for Digital Art History, the artist describes herself as both the eye/"I" of a hurricane and its destruction; a fluid, collapsing system that digital tools and their attached cultures pass through and are changed by. With broad strata of influences ranging from 18th-century Enlightenment philosophy to post-human choreography, spanning art history to cellular biology, Hart’s projects reflect the kaleidoscopic breadth of the artist’s lived experience: from studying architecture to becoming a writer and editor, then transitioning in the 1990s from an art practice rooted in painting/illustration to expanding 3D animation, simulation technologies, and what the artist terms "post-photographic" art. From 2018 to 2022, Hart taught the graduate seminar Travels in Hyperreality at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; the artist offers this exhibition as a tribute to this collaboration with her students, and a gesture towards a co-created, ever-evolving art history of post-photographic digital practice.
In Hart’s RECUMULATIONS (2010-2019), a video triptych presents three avatars cast against ambiguous black and white backgrounds. Their movements are jittery and irrational; their bodies move beyond a binary read of race and gender. Created in collaboration with performance artist Roberto Sifuentes, the project reinterprets Judson Dance Theatre co-founder Trisha Brown’s 1971 dance video ACCUMULATIONS. Its animated choreography gestures at a cyborg poetics of embodiment that overcomes a rational system of movement, merging material bodies and digital avatars in a haptic environment that rejects easy reads of corporeality and the real.
Premiering at ANNKA KULTYS PHYGITAL, PROCESSING HISTORY (2019) takes an equally destabilizing approach, merging a history of Chicago Modernism with classical architectural motifs, cultural symbols, and digital aging processes. The work subverts a linear read of time by superimposing historical and futuristic imagery upon the stone bodies of two colossal Caryatids: sculpted female figures that serve as an architectural support system of a building, which can be traced from the Ancient Greek temple of Erechtheion to Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry and Field Museum. A chromatic countdown framing the Caryatids moves both backward and forwards in time. Set to a staticky, mechanical beat, the video work traces seven decades of cultural history through the Caryatids’ gently morphing forms, which appear to breathe and sway through hallucinogenic glitch animism.
Time and its impact on the body emerge as a key theme throughout Hart’s practice; peeling back the decades to THE SEASONS (2007) and THE SWING (2006), we witness two nudes occupying weird temporalities. In the former, time creeps forward in a procession of flowing vines that grow from the melting body of a seated woman. She spins slowly clockwise while the room reels backward, creating a sense of strung-out time that’s amplified by the scratchy soundtrack of crushing paper.
In THE SWING, A Rococo-styled 3D avatar of a woman—all blush-pink with rosy cheeks—swings back and forth in the frame, bookended by a pair of trees that slowly shed their leaves. The vibe is melancholic and dilated, conjuring a sense of oblivion that feels peaceful in its certainty. In DREAM (2009), the body becomes almost totally dematerialized, floating in a monochromatic, embryonic digital environment that simultaneously recalls X-rays and all of the visceral matter—cells, blood vessels, bodily fluids—that the technology blindsides in its quest to see deeper.
The final two works in the show, TIMEGARDEN 01 (2004) and MORE LIFE (1998) are perhaps the most extreme in their differing use of time and subjectivity. Part of Hart’s series of TIMEGARDENS – vegetal worlds that use procedural generation to cultivate virtual landscapes calibrated to temporal events in reality – TIMEGARDEN 01 runs for 40 minutes: the average amount of time the public spends at an institutional group exhibition. In the first quarter of the video, the garden seeds itself dynamically, rapidly spring into being; for the remaining half-hour, it slowly decays to the sound of gentle pulsations, an echo-y and recursive soundtrack that resembles the subtle sounds plants emit to communicate with each other.
Meanwhile, MORE LIFE runs for all of four seconds, the camera panning rapidly in and out of a blocky television stationed in the corner of a lurid green room. On its pixelated screen, a cartoonish pink bear proclaims "I want more life, fucker" – a quote from replicant Roy Batty’s death speech in the 1982 film BLADE RUNNER. Originally premiered in MOMA PS1’s Animations, an early exhibition on CGI art in 2001, More Life underscores Hart’s continued interest in the political salience of the cyborg, as a being that projects excess and challenges ideas of anthropocentrism, and in doing so, counters the techno-progressive, masculine and extractivist dominions of technology.
Across Hart’s multidimensional oeuvre, this push to transcend the binaries framing an Enlightenment-era understanding of the world—human and nonhuman, artificial and real, mind and body—is eternally reconfigured through alternative technologies and tactics. Hart cultivates a way of seeing that toggles between the hallucinogenic and the technical, leveraging the immediate effects of sensuality and the uncanny as counterweights to her historical deep dives and future speculations on simulation. What emerges here is a hyper-dimensional latent space where digital imaging technology is recalibrated as an eternal project of becoming-with; merging poetics, politics, and play, Hart’s projects vivify Haraway’s proclamation that "we are all cyborgs now."
Claudia Hart leverages simulation technologies to collapse the false binaries between human and avatar, artificial and real, mind and body. With a background in architecture and writing, Hart emerged in the 1990s as part of a generation of multimedia artists exploring issues of identity and representation. Drawing on computing, virtual imaging, and 3D animation technologies, Hart weaves together topics from art history, philosophy, and cultural studies to explore themes of feminism, embodiment, and temporality through symbolic poetics that stitch onto real-world politics.
Born and based in New York, Hart (b. 1955) earned her BA in Art History from New York University (1978) and her MS in architecture at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture (1984). From 2018 – 2022, Hart taught the graduate seminar at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC); her practice is frequently collaborative, and she dedicates TRAVELS IN HYPERREALITY to her students at SAIC.
Recent solo presentations include A Child’s Machiavelli at EXPANDED.ART, Berlin (2023), My Travels in Hyperreality at ANNKA KULTYS GALLERY (in collaboration with EXPANDED.ART), London (2023), The Memory Theaters of Claudia Hart at Scope.bln, Berlin (2023), Digital Combines at bitforms gallery, San Francisco (2022), Honor Fraser, Los Angeles (2022). Hart has undertaken prestigious fellowships and residencies including the Apex Arts Fellowship (2019/21) and the Technology Residency at Pioneer Works in New York (2018), and an Honorary Fellowship at Eyebeam Center for Art + Technology (2013-2014). She is the recipient of awards including the Esports Digital Art Prize, Hong Kong (2021), Moving Image Art Fair Acquisition Prize, NY Moving Image Art Fair (2017), and a Gameon Studios Production Grant (2016). Her work is held in the collections of numerous museums and institutions including The Whitney Museum of American Art; the Museum of Modern Art; the Metropolitan Museum; the National Gallery, Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin; the Albertina Museum, Vienna; the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego; the Vera List Center Collection; the New York Public Library; as well as various private collections.
Group exhibitions include Nikolaj Kunsthal, Copenhagen, Borusan Contemporary, Istanbul, Vellum/LA, Feral File, Transfer Gallery, LUX, Mozilla Hubs, and more. The artist has been featured in international art publications including Artnet News, BOMB Magazine, The Brooklyn Rail, Burlington Contemporary Journal, Digicult, Hyperallergic, Right Click Save, X-TRA, Village Voice, and others.
MY TRAVELS IN HYPERREALITY
23 JUNE - 22 JULY 2023
OPENING: 22 JUNE | 7-10 PM BST
The artist is present.
CRYPTO ART SALON LONDON
3 JULY | 7-10 PM BST
Anika Meier in conversation with Karatekid (Collector, Art Blocks Curation Board), Joel Shamrock (Collector), Eva Jäger (Curator, Serpentine Galleries), and Crashblossom (Artist).
Unit 9, 472 Hackney Road, London E2 9EQ
Opening Hours: Wednesday – Saturday | 12–6 PM