JD Reforma has recently been included in Hyper-linked, an online exhibition of Together In Art New Work by seven contemporary Australian artists organised by the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Created specifically for the digital space, the exhibition confronts the realities and tensions between our private selves and our online personas.
Social media and the internet have shaped societal patterns since their inception and today, in an age of physical distancing, they increasingly serve as a platform for connection. The works showcased in Hyper-linked consider the seemingly contradictory experience of physical remoteness within a context of digital hyper-connectivity.
Artists Heath Franco, Brian Fuata, Matthew Griffin, Amrita Hepi, Kate Mitchell, JD Reforma and Justene Williams were supported by Together In Art New Work, an initiative of the Art Gallery of New South Wales social project Together In Art, to create the works for Hyper-linked. The exhibition is part of the Gallery’s commitment through Together In Art to directly support Australian artists during challenging times.
Art Gallery of NSW director Michael Brand said that the exhibition addresses how dramatically our interactions have been altered in the face of COVID-19 and speaks to our increased reliance presently on the digital realm.
“Born out of the pandemic, Hyper-linked is a pertinent commentary on the present moment and our collective future. Presenting seven perspectives on a changed world, these artists are asking urgent questions about the way we relate to one another and the way we communicate,” Brand said.
Senior curator of contemporary Australian art Isobel Parker Philip said the exhibition is an opportunity to reflect on how the internet has infiltrated and transformed our lives.
“Hyper-linked considers the split state of being disconnected and hyper-connected at the same time. Many of us have found ourselves confined by the limits of the domestic space yet we simultaneously broadcast our lives in bite size chunks over social media. The personas we project through Zoom meetings, Instagram and FaceTime catch ups are performative.
“The artists in this exhibition are examining the role the internet plays in shaping our lives and the ways in which we relate. They bear witness and pay tribute to our networked selves,” Parker Philip said.
Hyper-linked is the Gallery’s first online group exhibition where the screen becomes a gallery space. The online experience of each work is integral to its creation, with each artist adopting the internet not simply as a context for display but as a medium itself. All grapple with the way we use the internet to communicate and search for meaning, from Heath Franco’s fictional search engine to Kate Mitchell’s interactive oracle deck and Amrita Hepi’s chatbot, as well as Matthew Griffin’s comedic instructional videos that playfully subvert the mechanics of social media.
A reckoning with the domestic space and the confines of physical distancing and lockdown are visible in the surreal series of theatrical vignettes by Justene Williams and JD Reforma’s polemic reflection on navigating relationships and the dangers of lockdown. Brian Fuata’s video work similarly holds a sense of an impending threat as he casts himself as a solitary shadow figure in an empty void.
Hyper-linked is now on view on the Together In Art website where audiences can access the artworks and interactive experiences.