Addie Wagenknecht
Shellshock

bitforms gallery

November 10, 2014

Addie Wagenknecht
Shellshock

November 2–December 7, 2014

bitforms gallery
131 Allen Street
New York NY 10002

www.bitforms.com
Installation photos
Exhibition guide

bitforms gallery is pleased to announce Addie Wagenknecht’s first solo exhibition in the United States. An American artist based in Austria, Wagenknecht builds installations, interventions, paintings and sculpture that investigate the cultural connection between technology and social interaction. In her work, a critical space between lived experience and sculpture emerges, as she plays with the contemporary anxieties of post-Snowden information culture. Formally trained in computer science, Wagenknecht is a member of the New York-based arts and activist group Free Art and Technology Lab (also known as “F.A.T. Lab”). A leader of the open-source hardware movement, she co-founded NORTD Labs with Stefan Hechenberger in 2007, creating projects that have been used and built by millions worldwide. The first solo exhibition of Wagenknecht’s work was presented in Dublin in June 2014. Her installation work has also been exhibited recently at Phillips, New York; Museumsquartier, Vienna; Haus für electroniches Künste, Basel; LEAP Berlin; and Eyebeam Art + Technology Center, New York.

The exhibition at bitforms gallery presents Wagenknecht’s painting and sculpture. It includes pieces making their debut in New York, as well as works from her ongoing series “Black Hawk” and “Data and Dragons.”  ”Black Hawk” is a mechanically assisted series of action paintings that Wagenknecht started in 2007. She creates them with small-scale drone aircraft, and in the process, utilizes simple flight commands such as “barrel roll,” “take off” and “land.” Among the most recent are works on paper that incorporate heat- and UV-sensitive pigments, furthering her first explorations with liquid acrylics on canvas. “Data and Dragons” is a series of sculptures that intercepts and logs anonymous live data captured from surrounding WiFi signals. An assembly of custom printed circuit boards and Ethernet cabling, each work is dark and austere, manifesting “the cloud,” social networks, data, leaks, and that which forms social capital into a single object. In the exhibition, two new pieces are featured: Cloud Farming, a ceiling-suspended sculpture; and XXXX.XXX, a multi-panel wall-mounted sculpture. Passively interactive, the behavior of these pieces is driven by custom hardware and packet sniffers, which capture all the live data passing through the area. The information is then visualized via surface mounted LEDs, through a series of blinking patterns.

In -r-xr-xr-x, Wagenknecht applies gold leaf to a pair of closed-circuit television cameras. As ubiquitous icons of surveillance, these objects evoke safety and voyeurism, as well as the authoritarian gaze of an exclusive viewer. Their ostentatious adornment draws attention to this presence, symbolizing the structures of control, and the network of permissions that are allowed to specific users and groups (be they art world insiders, or simply persons opening a file). The rhinestone-encrusted 1:24 Tank, Black, is an adaptation of a remote-controlled toy weapon. It disrupts WiFi network traffic, equating information and power. Wagenknecht’s latest installation, All The Beautiful Things, is similarly dystopic and presents a readymade concrete eagle that has been disembodied and resurfaced.

A fully illustrated installation guide is also available online and at the gallery.