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Confrontation Between Human Memory and the Unconscious of the Internet 0

Evan Roth Memory
Gallery Niklas Belenius, Stockholm
Until March 2, 2014

The  artist Evan Roth works in the same anti-authoritarian do-it-yourself spirit as the 1960′s American counterculture. A spirit he shares with open source programmers as well as graffiti writers and Anonymous activists. Roth’s works are tools for empowerment aiming to modify our physical and digital surroundings by misusing and parodying social structures, technical devices and popular culture phenomena. Among his projects is the transformation of an airport X-ray machine to a medium for sending messages to security staff, and a replica of the TED talks stage, which is open for everyone to use.

In Memory, Evan Roth stages a confrontation between human memory and the unconscious of the Internet.

Our technical devices remember much more than we want them to. The computer cache memories register all our movements in digital space. Roth turns these memories inside out and brings forth a manifold of hidden stories. Thereby he is letting us view ourselves with the indifferent eyes of technology.

The exhibition is an archive of an archive, with portraits of various person’s daily online activities, a 42 meter long vinyl print with four months of Internet history compressed to a sculpture, laser etchings and the thoughtful little book Since You Were Born, dedicated to the artist’s daughter. The book can be read in two opposite ways: as a beautiful story about the relation between a father and his new-born child, and as a reflexion of our intimate relationship with the web.

What does it mean to be a “hacker” today?

For me, a good hack involves the misuse of an existing structure, and it is playful, clever, anti-authoritarian, brilliantly lazy and empowering. These ideals are often best embodied by those that write code, but they can also be seen in the practices of graffiti writers, lawyers and everyone in between. I've written more about this here if you're interested:

Do you believe that one day we will all become the hostages of technical devices? Or, maybe we already are?

In general, I believe that we are prone to become hostages of convenience, in whatever form it may come. Technology is definitely a harbinger of convenience, and the easier and more available it becomes, the more and more freedom and control we give up.

How many online activities can the average person do in 24h?

The average duration of a visit to my website is 61 seconds. Based on this metric, a person could engage in 1,416 activities in a 24-hour-period.

Please, tell us about your work process and techniques?

My work often deals with the relationship between misuse and personal empowerment. I make prints, sculptures, installations, videos and websites, but the work is defined less by medium and genre, than by its appropriation of popular culture and the influence of the Internet.

Do you see this topic as “trendy” in contemporary art?

I don't see it as a trend, necessarily, but it's not surprising that the massive effects that technology (and more specifically – the Internet) are having on society would begin to be reflected in the arts. If contemporary art is a mirror of contemporary culture, then I would expect to see more evidence of this in the next several years.

Clearing 4 Months of Internet Cache

Memory is Paris-based artist Evan Roth’s first solo exhibition in Sweden. His work is in the permanent collection of Museum of Modern Art NY and has been exhibited at the Centre Pompidou, the Kunsthalle Wien, the Tate and the front page of Youtube. Roth is a co-founder of the Graffiti Research Lab and The F.A.T. Lab.