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10 Feb 2016

Are We Global Yet? The Art and Politics of Public Space at Anderson Gallery, Drake University

Photo by Joshua Cain

Are We Global Yet? The Art and Politics of Public Space (including the virtual)
Lenore Metrick-Chen / Drake University / Anderson Gallery


13 November 2015-12 February 2016.
Closing Reception Monday February 8, 4pm-6:30pm
The Anderson Gallery is open Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Friday through Sunday, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Extended hours on Thursdays from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. Closed Mondays

Lenore Metrick-Chen
+ 1 515 271 1994
+ 1 515 271 3977

Anderson Gallery Drake University
25th and Carpenter
Des Moines, IA 50311
United States

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Are We Global Yet? The Art and Politics of Public Space (including the virtual) is an exhibition that has unfolded in two parts. The first iteration opened in November 2015 and the second, which opened February 1, 2016, places 12 placing augmented reality objects in dialogical relationships with the physical objects already in the exhibition. A closing reception on 8 February 2015 invites the public to explore this complete installation. Place is a negotiation, often contested. The question 'Are We Global Yet?' encourages viewers to explore how place is constructed, contested and lived. By visualizing connections between technology and power and between surveillance, protection, and control, artworks in the exhibition demonstrate the range of groups contending in and creating our public and global spaces. Together the works provoke questions regarding the ways we define the local and our global, how we define boundaries of 'here' and 'there,' and how the web extends or impedes all of these.

At the local level, public space is said to be diminishing, moving to the private sphere, or migrating to the Internet. Often the Internet is equated with globalization. Globalization is an uneven cultural process and a process of cultural unevenness. The artworks raise questions about the consequences of their own technologies, examining how technology aids and privileges its user. Who has access to this power and how it is sustained? Is this what globalization means?

Changes in the public arena present challenges to democracy: as public space is altered, not only public space but also public liberties can be covertly diminished. We are already witnessing such restrictions, ranging from prohibiting the public's ability to mobilize against a dominant power, to precluding the assembly of four or more people, to banning any form of play in the once-public domain. Only when public space remains available to all can the public represent itself and create greater enfranchisement.

The current iteration of the exhibition features 12 objects visible only through a downloadable app. These augmented reality objects were created by students exploring issues raised by the overlap of digital and public space in a course at Drake University taught by Professor Metrick-Chen, and facilitated by New Media artist,

Professor John Craig Freeman, Emerson College. The students participated in Freeman's ongoing and transnational art project, 'Things We Have Lost.' Their resulting artworks use prosaic objects to disclose losses that are both personal, social and political. Among other works, Alexis Pete Bertrand's 'A death by any other name...' reflects on Black Lives Matter, NghiDung Nguyen's 'Vietnamese Straw Hat' critiques Chinese interest in the Vietnamese border; and Paul Brenin's 'God Loves Everybody,' responds to Westboro Church's battle cry 'God Hates Fags,' with a personal protest.

Below are lists of the themes in the exhibition and a selection of the artists included in the exhibition. Together their work creates a network representing our contested local and global public arenas.

• Gender: Alison Bechdel's excerpt from her graphic novel Fun Home, 2006; Coco Addams's screenshots, 'Abdella is who I am, too, but I'm Coco all the time' 2012

• Borders: Craig Freeman's interactive digital video, 'Imaging Place,' 1997-2007; Annabel Manning and Celine Latulipe's installation 'Interactive Surveillance'

• Race: Damon Davis's striking photographic installation 'All Hands on Deck,' 2014 in which large posters depicting the hands of volunteers in the recent 2014 protests in Ferguson, MO, have been wheat pasted to the outside walls of the gallery building

• Surveillance Joseph Delappe's mixed media wearable headpiece 'Me and My Predator—Personal Drone-System, 2014;' Ken Rinaldo's wearable custom masks 'Mirror Masks, 2014'

• The power of code: Eric Manley's readable and executable ',' 2015; Peter Wildman's computer read poem 'Modulate a Thousand Times More' 2015

• Physicality: Evan Roth's video 'Dances for Mobile Phones,' 2015 depicting the physical act of interaction with smart phones; Robert Metrick's meditative video exploring the relationship between global and local through individual acts

• Mapping: 30 maps present a range of ways we place ourselves in relationship to our perceived world, from Abraham Oreliu's world map of 1570, to Mark Lombardi's poster mapping information he collected between 1972-1991, tracing illegal financial activities between three different banks for 'BCCI, ICI and FAB,' to a webcam with surveillance video of the exhibition audience itself as it moves through the gallery.

And throughout the entire run of the exhibition, Will Pappenheimer & Zachary Brady's augmented reality installation 'Skywrite,' ongoing since 2012, allows all gallery goers to add their thoughts or art to the exhibition, adding their voice to its public space.

Anderson Gallery is a catalyst for engaging student and community in object-based learning and is free and open to the public.

The Closing Reception is free and open to the public.