Section within the
Dallas Arts District
Section 5: Altered States
‘Altered States’, curated by Julia Kaganskiy, explores sensory manipulation through technological mediation and how this affects our ability to perceive and make sense of the world around us – at once expanding and contracting the realm of possibilities and our understanding of them.
The installations, performances and video works presented here attempt to forge new lenses through which we might interpret our surroundings and our place within them, taking inspiration from sources as varied as meditation and spiritual practice, to hallucinations and dreams, to the mathematical truth and beauty of computer algorithms.
Section within the
→ Julia Kaganskiy, Director of New Inc at the New Museum in New York, is a recognized cultural producer across the art and technology fields. She previously served as Global Editor of the Creators Project, a partnership between VICE Media Group and Intel, and founded ArtsTech Meetup, a group that brings together professionals from New York City’s museums, galleries, art-related start-ups, and digital artists. She has been cited by Fast Company, 2011 and Business Insider, 2013 as one of the most influential women in technology and profiled in the 2012 AOL/PBS series Makers honoring women leaders.
What are the possibilities and challenges for curating a large-scale, outdoor exhibition like Aurora?
Working on an architectural scale is always daunting – especially in Texas, where everything is bigger! I’m kidding, sort of, but in all seriousness, curating outside is hard. You have to contend with unpredictable weather and subjecting work to the elements, which is especially challenging when dealing with high-tech work. On the other hand, you have an unrivaled ability to play with context, to transform people’s everyday environments, to play with scale and conceive of something large-scale and immersive or small-scale and tucked away as a hidden surprise. In many ways, it’s a more diverse and inviting setting for presenting art than a white cube gallery space, which often has the challenge of feeling sanitized and stilted. Outside you have less control, things are more unpredictable in a way, but if you can work within that and use it to your advantage, I think you can achieve some truly spectacular results.
What is your approach to curating in general? Primarily conceptual, material/aesthetic or process-based?
I’m not superstitious per se, but I do believe in “signs” or something like that. I know it sounds a little cheesy, but hear me out. Usually I come to a project like this with a general idea — a hunch — that is something I can’t quite articulate yet but is something I know I want to dig into and explore. When I’m researching, often times there is this moment of recognition, like an “Oh, that’s what I’ve been trying to find the words for” or picking up on people who are operating on the same wave length. With this project, there was something early on that really helped inform the direction I took — at one of my earliest studio visits the artist had a copy of a book on ‘The Sublime’ on his table and when I saw it I immediately knew that this was what I had been looking for. It wasn’t exactly the same words I’d use, but it encompassed so much of what I felt like I was trying to capture in this show.
What guides your choice of artists for your section of the Aurora 2015 exhibition?
I wanted to bring a mix of new and familiar voices — both Anne Katrine Senstad and Sean Miller have exhibited at Aurora before — but artists like Memo Akten from London, as well as Matt Jensen and Ofri Cnaani from New York are new talents who have exhibited widely nationally and internationally. Their work spans a range of mediums, disciplines and styles and engages the public in different ways — some more subtle and meditative, others that explicitly demand your attention and participation. I wanted to represent a range of different experiences, both in terms of how they treated the subject matter of the show, as well as how they allowed the audience to become a part of it. I’m also particularly excited about two pretty ambitious new commissions for Aurora — one that is a video sculpture with the video art collective Undervolt & Co., and the other a new audiovisual installation and dance performance with Portuguese artist Joao Beira. It’s always exciting to give artists an opportunity to create new work and it’s a joy and a privilege to get to do that.
What’s the best exhibition you’ve seen so far in 2015 and why?
Tough question! I particularly loved the Kehinde Wiley show at the Brooklyn Museum. It’s amazing that in this day and age, portraiture can still have such a gravitas, such an impact. Of course, his is no simple portraiture — exquisite in its execution and incisive in its critique. Simply breathtaking!