After wandering around The Rocks Aroma Festival, I decided to pop into the Museum of Contemporary Art to see what was on display. Lucky for me, New Romance: art and the posthuman was currently showing. I should probably warn you though, it’s not for everyone and some artworks may distress some people.
The works of New Romance “encourage us to ask what it means to be human today, and what it might mean in the future. Drawing inspiration from science fiction, robotics, biotechnology, consumer products and social media, they offer experiences that raise questions around the idea of the posthuman; a concept that signals new understandings of humanity and a breakdown of boundaries between what we think of as natural and artificial.”
‘Dark Ecology (2015/2016)’ by Hayden Fowler
A large plastic dome was set up outside the entrance to the MCA and I lined up patiently for my turn to walk through. Apart from patches of long grass and a small stream of water, it reminded me of a wasteland. The dead tree with speakers played some bird noises. This work “invites us to consider how our relationship with the natural world is changing, through an increased ability to alter our environment and through the threat of ecological catastrophe.” For me, it’s a reminder that we’re slowly killing this planet. In future, will we only be able to access nature through biodomes like this? I hope not.
‘Digital Book Project (2016)’ by Airan Kang
I love books, bookshelves and neon lights, so was immediately drawn to this. This artwork “explores the book as a symbol of human knowledge and its significance as a portal for information both as a physical object and in virtual space.”
‘Blender (2005/2016)’ by Stelarc & Nina Sellars
I’m not sure what to think of this one. It was kind-of gross yet intriguing. “It combines sterilised bodily material surgically extracted from the two artists inside a sealed, air-powered machine… The sculptural elements in the work are designed to metaphorically represent a human body.”
‘Alone with the gods (2016)’ by Patricia Piccinini and Peter Hennessey
This was probably my favourite from the exhibit. The artists “explore ideas of secret societies, parallel worlds, genetic modification, evolution and mutation”, which is based on a story they wrote about a fictional isolationist cult. I found the idea of a secret cult building and brewing life in an ordinary kitchen, and these mutations, so fascinating. They looked so real it was kind-of spooky.
There’s a lot more to see from New Romance, but these were my personal favourites. If you get the chance, I’d recommend popping into the MCA to check it out. It’s free and it’s on until the 4th of September 2016. Let me know if you visit and what you think.