For those of you in the Northwest, I’ll be showing some of the best modern digital art from the Sahel — opening this Saturday at the new Portland Museum of Modern Art, “Azawad Libre! New Media and Imagined Geographies in the Sahel” draws from cellphone photography, Facebook profile graphics, and viral videos pouring out of Mali — demonstrating the innovative re-imagining of personal avatars as well as the political creation of a ‘digital’ Azawad, a new statehood unrecognized by the international community but thriving in the exchange of new media:
Built-in photo manipulation software has led to stylistic trends, combining personal photos with superimposed pixelated graphics. The recent proliferation of home PCs further introduces new techniques of photo manipulation. Utilizing software-based templates and automated web-based montage platforms, the personal identity is altered and re-imagined into new forms; desires, hopes, and dreams are expressed in hyper-real manifestations. Invoking colorful and sometimes garish worlds of montage, digital distortions and lens flares, the images are informed by Western cultural objects, yet liberated from the points of origin….Examining the rich content of the digital artifacts which circulate through the networks of the Sahel, Azwad Libre! considers not only the roles of new media and democratization of creative tools, but the beauty of uninhibited inspiration. (link)
The opening is on Saturday, November 17th at 7:30pm (facebook page) and the show will be running for a month, before traveling to a few other cities in the new year. ART.