Douglas Coupland: Bit Rot
Some 60 pieces of work created or collected by Douglas Coupland are displayed in this exhibition, alongside relevant texts from his most recent book of the same title. The book discuss contemporary human circumstances: among other things, Coupland imagines Workr and Yoo, two apps that collect personal data so as to reshape individual identity. Through anecdotes and stories, Coupland reveals how search engines challenge traditional concepts of knowledge, how electronic devices impact public aesthetics and intimate relationships, and how the internet is globally homogenizing human thinking. “Writing is all about time, and art is about space.”
Confused by dots, the naked eye fails to decipher the photomontage The Poet (2015). Through the lens of the iPhone, the image is converted into a shocking photograph: a body chillingly falling from the Twin Towers. The uncertain neutrality of the witness is revealed: he or she must stand behind a screen to legitimatize what is seen. The Living Internet (2015) is a large physical mockup of the internet. Objects including guns, firewalls, and figures move constantly, careening into each other in a frightening and absurd ballet. This chaos absorbs the issues that Coupland looks at in his book: Do search engine algorithms truly reflect human thinking? What economic and political conflicts lie beneath this turbid surface? How does this system reshape modern logic?
Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam