New Viewings #37, curated by David Thorp

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New Viewings creates an opportunity to explore what possibilities an online exhibition and installation can engender that the physical exhibition cannot. What freedoms can an artist be offered and in turn explore that they are unable to do in the IRL exhibition space? The fluidity of an unending stream of digital possibilities that can be manipulated by the artist allow them to not only consider the actual artworks but how they may be contextualised in an idealised space. There is an inherent contradiction within this process encapsulated in the relationship between these two entities. On the one hand in the imaginative interpretation of artworks in an idealised virtual space and, on the other, in the market potential of extant IRL artworks. Criticism has been levelled repeatedly about the deleterious effect that the market can have on creative output and opportunity and this has been augmented by the conversation about inclusivity in contemporary art. This posits that recent global events clearly show that we need to adapt and evolve, adjustments must be made in the creative industries as in the world in general. An approach with a focus on unity, inclusivity and diversity is necessary to ensure artists’ exposure and counter the condition of success governed by a few. Online spaces play a vital role in this process. As part of a continuum of production and display, they help to ensure that creativity can be realised by artists of all backgrounds and actively address the role contemporary art has to play in a world subject to a new normal. The selection of these four of artists has been made with this in mind.

David Thorp

Mustafa Hulusi

Bitter Sweet, 2021. Installation view. Dimensions variable

Bitter Sweet
Bitter Sweet, the title of Mustafa Hulusi’s exhibition takes as its inspiration his latest suite of paintings of bitter oranges, which originate from photographic images taken by the artist of orange trees within the various groves surrounding his family’s ancestral home in Cyprus. Orange and lemon trees abound in Cyprus, commonly grown in many gardens both within rural villages or suburban towns. Notably, there are large plantations situated in the north that were originally established during the British colonial period from the early 20th century in territory now disputed by both Cypriot factions since the island’s forcible division in 1974. They have a similar significance to those contested Jaffa oranges grown in Palestine and the orange tree species in Cyprus partially originates from the Palestinian variation. They become symbols of imposed ethnic division.

Grapes, another archetypal Mediterranean symbol, are the focus of Hulusi’s video work „Out of the Loop“. This film shot in Cyprus and Bolivia begins with the image of the Uyuni Salt Lake. The level of water reflects mirror-like across the surface whilst gently dissolving into images of swaying vines and grapes to slowly emerge against the vivid blue sky. A bird song can be heard in the background falling away as the sound of wind and water prevail.

Bitter Sweet, 2021. Installation view. Dimensions variable

The essence of Bitter Sweet can be summed up in Hulusi’s own words. ‘The ecstatic subject as a means of transcending identarian politics’. Hulusi’s identity has been described as ‘hybrid’, born as he was to Cypriot Turkish parents who had emigrated to London in the early 1960’s. The debate surrounding hybridity, when politicised, may include the subversion and challenge of division and separation depriving a dominant culture of its authority and its potential to overlook an intrinsic imbalance in power relations between the colonised and the coloniser that can conceal cultural differences. This imbalance is something that Hulusi’s practice has been consistently engaged with since his early use of abandoned billboards in London’s East End to display a series of posters bluntly bearing his name and, on other sites, a starburst logo he calls an ‘Expander’. These earlier projects set the tone within his practice of questioning his identity in the context of a dominant sanitised mass media driven culture.

Hulusi’s project has been to consistently examine the way which different visual languages shape our perception. In addition to the hybridity of identity, he employs the earlier horticultural use of the idea; hybridity that involves the cross-pollination of plants. A process that once undertaken results in a natural organic third new species. In his view nature is always perceived through the prism of politics; the idea of nature is bound to geography, in this instance specifically to this eastern Mediterranean island.

Bitter Sweet, 2021. Installation view. Dimensions variable

While combining different historical references with a diversity of styles and media, Hulusi scrutinises the traditional art historical conflation of abstraction and representation combining different references along with other, emotional, associations; pleasure and destruction; negativity and ecstasy. Mustafa Hulusi’s subject matter ranges across environmentalism and the natural world; population (in)activity in relation to the loss of cultures and the erasure of history. A cross pollination of ethics and aesthetics from which emerges a hybrid of the prosaic and the sublime in the context of the contradiction inherent in the display of simulation as real.

Mustafa Hulusi (b. 1971, London, UK), lives and works in London. He has exhibited widely in Europe and in United States, and more recently in Asia. Mustafa Hulusi represented the Republic of Cyprus at the 52nd International Art Exhibition of Venice Biennale in 2007. Mustafa Hulusi’s work has been included in exhibitions at the Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK; the Saatchi Gallery, London, UK; Sean Kelly Gallery, New York, USA; Baibakov Art Projects, Moscow, Russia; the Stedelijk Museum Bureau, Amsterdam, Netherlands; BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, UK; MoMA PS1, New York, USA and KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, Germany.

The artist received his BA in Fine Art and Critical Studies from Goldsmiths College, London and his MA in Photography from the Royal College of Art, London. He also holds an MA in Critical Theory from Central St. Martin’s School of Art, London.
Selected private and public collections include; Tate Modern, London, UK; British Council Collection, London, UK; La Caixa Foundation, Barcelona, Spain; the Pinault Collection, Paris, France; the Zabludowicz Collection, London, UK and the UBS Bank Art Collection, London, UK and Zurich, Switzerland.

Mustafa Hulusi
Out of the Loop, 2020
Single channel video loop
01:00’ minutes
Edition of 3 + 1AP

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Mustafa Hulusi
Orange 1 (Cyprus 08), 2011
Oil on canvas
213 x 142 cm

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Mustafa Hulusi
Bitter Oranges 01, 2021
Oil on canvas
213 x 142 cm

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Mustafa Hulusi
Bitter Oranges 02, 2021
Oil on canvas
213 x 142 cm

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Mustafa Hulusi
Bitter Oranges 03, 2021
Oil on canvas
213 x 142 cm

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Mustafa Hulusi
Bitter Oranges 04, 2021
Oil on canvas
213 x 142 cm

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A K Dolven

2021. Installation view. Dimensions variable

A K Dolven’s concern with beauty and the sublime, stillness, the corporeality and sensuality of the body and a feeling for common sensibility has been demonstrated in her subject matter from the start. Her engagement with close personal relationships underpins the intrinsic humanity of her work. This interest in relationships has become a vehicle for the exploration of the position of women sociologically as well as personally.

In a practice that is multi-layered and multi-disciplined, Dolven returns periodically to examine this position, expressing different facets of identity through a visual language that articulates her concern with the balance between strength and vulnerability. Her works are rooted in a sensibility developed by Dolven in the northern reaches of Europe, particularly in the landscape that surrounds Norway’s Lofoten Islands. This extreme environment is often used as a backdrop by Dolven, its harsh but simple scenography informs her ideas and provides a place where they can gestate.

Dolven’s monochromatic paintings may vary from a large scale that embraces the viewer to those of a much smaller domestic size but all fall within an aesthetic spectrum that occurs frequently within her work. The solitary activity of painting is complemented for Dolven by the communality and friendship that underpins another side of her practice, that of sound and moving image. As well as those of close friends, Dolven has often used her own body as the subject matter of her moving image works. And for her recent black painting hitting a mountain with snow on my left and right shoulder she strikes the black painted aluminium sheet with her white painted shoulder leaving the mark of the impact of her body. The live moment, its movement, the record of a split second in time recorded as vividly as any moving image. At this point the gap between two strands of Dolven’s practice, the static and the live, draw very close.

2021. Installation view. Dimensions variable

The deceptively simple form of the Dolven’s sound-works mirror the repetitive sequence of minimalist music in which the recurring sound of a particular phrase is modulated as it progresses. It contains no forward narrative but relies upon subtle variations in the cycle to establish mood which nonetheless conveys the listener along a trajectory of deepening experience. Her latest sound work so long ago gradually establishes a poetic atmosphere redolent with a feeling of loss. The sense of the sublime and of suspended time or timelessness that is apparent in so long ago and her moving image pieces is also evident in her paintings and sculpture. In another recent work, the sculpture seng og sekund, Dolven examines the nature of time and our phenomenological perception of it. Time is a recurrent theme in Dolven’s practice, incorporated both as an element and a material. The body in contact with nature is seen by Dolven as a means through which time can be perceived.

The reductive presence of all Dolven’s work be it sound, moving image, painting or sculpture responds to the materiality of the body but it is not solely corporeal or mundane. There is always the suggestion of, the allusion to, the incorporeal. In each medium Dolven reduces the human experience to fundamental conditions.

A K Dolven lives and works in Oslo and Lofoten, Norway. She has exhibited extensively internationally at a wide range of institutions and galleries including: Kunsthalle Bern; Philadephia Museum of Art; Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin; IKON Gallery, Birmingham; Platform China, Beijing; The National Museum of Art, Oslo; KIASMA, Helsinki; CCC Tours, France and Louisiana Museum of Modern Art.
Her work is included in collections such as The Art Institute of Chicago, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Arts Council Collection, Hoffmann Collection, KIASMA, La Gaia Collection, Goetz Collection, Fundacion Salamanca Ciudad de Cultura, Kunsthalle Bern, Küpferstichkabinett, Leipzig Collection of Contemporary Galleries, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Malmö Museum, National Museum, Norway, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Denmark.

A K Dolven
Not known (d), 2021
Oil on aluminium
40 x 30 cm

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A K Dolven
Not known (e), 2021
Oil on aluminium
40 x 30 cm

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A K Dolven
Not known (g), 2021
Oil on aluminium
40 x 30 cm

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A K Dolven
Old sunset, 2021
Arctic marble and pencil
80 x 120 x 2 cm

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Neha Choksi

Urgency and Longing, 2021. Installation view

Urgency and Longing

The solitary condition of the individual and their reaching out to contact the material world that they share with others underpins the work of Neha Choksi. She does this without resort to metaphor by an unvarnished attention to the physical contact between herself and things and the resonant, sensual atmosphere that occurs between living beings when they connect even if only in passing. Choksi understands that this endeavour to relate is a finely balanced task in which failure to realise its potential is constant and perhaps inevitable. Despite inescapable constraints in her effort by her physical, psychological, and empathetic boundaries, she believes that the directness of experience assists communication.

There is no more direct an experience than touch. Choksi explores the connectivity and its traces that touch offers. It seems the way in which the act of touching marks a point, a moment that acknowledges the immediate past and what lies ahead. As she says, ’every touch connects and alters and draws breaks between presences and absences and between what has come before and what has yet to come’. There is therefore an attempt within this process to grasp the fleeting nature of time. Creating timely encounters between self and others through her work, Choksi magnifies her experience of access to the quiddity, to the threshold of meaning.

Urgency and Longing, 2021. Installation view

Her relationship as a sentient being with the unconscious or material world is expressed by Choksi in an early performance-based video trilogy. In Minds to Lose (2008-11) Choksi anaesthetised herself and four farmyard animals. Two states of consciousness, the human and the animal, are reduced to the common denominator of the unconscious. In the second video, Leaf Fall (2007-8), Choksi records a single day’s work stripping a tree of all its leaves leaving a sole autumnal sprig at the tip of its highest branch. The final part of this trilogy, Iceboat (2012-13), shows the results of the artist rowing a boat made of ice until it melts and she flounders. In a middle ‘dream sequence’ (her words), close-ups of Choksi’s face as she rows are intercut with footage of her standing on the lakeshore. Throughout the three films Choksi explores the contradictory conditions of disengagement and engagement. They spell out an important aspect of her practice, the experience of absenting and self-erasure.

Choksi’s new video Urgency and Longing (working title) shown in New Viewings is accompanied by a series of finger paintings on glass. The video blends recent video chat recordings of her and her lover’s fingers conjuring touch–to mesmerize each other despite the separation enforced by long-distance and the phone’s glass screen–with footage from a live performance, On the Other Side (2016), featuring a sheet of glass interposed between the artist and a potted ironwood tree. The paintings’ palette, the use of glass, and the paint handling stem from the experiences evidenced in the video. Glass, apparently intangible, forms a barrier and a portal to reality; the artist’s touch is the magic that cracks open a connection to a novel world through the glass to the tree on the other side. Its transparency deceptively seems to yield to pressure. As her fingers and body press against it, it oscillates between portal and mirror. In touching the glass with painted fingers, Choksi embraces the history and primary touch of painting going all the way back to the cave. Her work shares in the primordial quality of the artist’s vision, a quest for the lived perspective, the core truths of perceptual experience.

Urgency and Longing, 2021. Installation view

Neha Choksi’s work has been exhibited or performed at the Kleefeld Contemporary Museum, Long Beach, CA (solo, 2021); Various Small Fires, Los Angeles (solo, 2021); 18th Street Arts Center, Santa Monica (solo, 2018); Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (biennial, 2018); Dhaka Art Summit (group, 2020; solo, 2018; group, 2016); Manchester Art Gallery (solo, 2017); LAMOA at Occidental College, Los Angeles (solo, 2017); 20th Biennale of Sydney (2016); Hayward Gallery Project Space, London (solo, 2015); Kochi-Muziris Biennale (2014); Armory Center for the Arts, Pasadena, California (2013); Whitechapel Gallery, London (2013); John Hansard Gallery, Southampton, UK (3-person, 2012); Asia Pacific Triennial, QAGOMA, Brisbane (2012); Shanghai Biennale (2012); Wanås Foundation and Kristianstads Konsthall, Sweden (2012); the Venice Architecture Biennale (2006); among others.

Choksi received her double BA in Greek and in Art from the University of California, Los Angeles, and an MA in classics from Columbia University. She lives and works in Los Angeles, USA and Bombay, India.

Urgency and Longing, 2021. Installation view

Neha Choksi
As (On the other side), 2021
From the series: On the other side (glass painting series) Glass paint baked onto tempered ultra-clear glass, gray one-way mirror, walnut wood
13 x 22 x 3 inches / 33 x 55.75 x 7.5 cm (H x W x D) Both glass and mirror size 12 x 16 inches / 30.5 x 40.65 cm
Photo: Brica Wilcox

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Neha Choksi
Beside (On the other side), 2021
From the series: On the other side (glass painting series) Glass paint baked onto tempered ultra-clear glass, gray one-way mirror, walnut wood
17 x 20 x 3 inches / 43.2 x 50.75 x 7.5 cm (H x W x D) Both glass and mirror size 16 x 12 inches / 40.65 x 30.5 cm
Photo: Brica Wilcox

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Neha Choksi
Between (On the other side), 2021
From the series: On the other side (glass painting series) Glass paint baked onto tempered ultra-clear glass, gray one-way mirror, walnut wood
17 x 20 x 3 inches / 43.2 x 50.75 x 7.5 cm (H x W x D) Both glass and mirror size 16 x 12 inches / 40.65 x 30.5 cm
Photo: Brica Wilcox

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Neha Choksi
Near (On the other side), 2021
From the series: On the other side (glass painting series) Glass paint baked onto tempered ultra-clear glass, gray one-way mirror, walnut wood
17 x 20 x 3 inches / 43.2 x 50.75 x 7.5 cm (H x W x D) Both glass and mirror size 16 x 12 inches / 40.65 x 30.5 cm
Photo: Brica Wilcox

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Neha Choksi
Toward (On the other side), 2021
2021 From the series: On the other side (glass painting series) Glass paint baked onto tempered ultra-clear glass, gray one-way mirror, walnut wood
13 x 22 x 3 inches / 33 x 55.75 x 7.5 cm (H x W x D) Both glass and mirror size 12 x 16 inches / 30.5 x 40.65 cm
Photo: Brica Wilcox

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Neha Choksi
Urgency and Longing (On the other side), 2021
Video, color, sound
10 minutes
Edition 1/5 + 1 AP

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Damien Roach

2021. Installation view. Dimension variable
2021. Installation view. Dimension variable

Damien Roach’s sculptures, projections and installations rethink and reformat the systems and structures that comprise the complex web of experience and cognition we call reality, challenging a stasis or fixity of perception and inviting the viewer to look, to think, to experience the world in different ways. He builds environments from associated objects and images, creating dynamic situations for his work in which audiences are active participants in establishing the various logics of the site.

His work draws the audience’s attention to things familiar enough to normally arouse no curiosity in such a way that, when perceived in the structurally dynamic and effervescent space he creates, allows for a startling set of reconsiderations. A space infused with dynamism and potential, where the once known may be seen in fresh detail, as if for the first time, enhancing or rebooting perception by his contextualisation, selection and display.

His installations have often been further activated in their nature as sites for new creative thought, to include performances, discussions, screenings, readings, and workshops. All of Roach’s work encourages heightened states of altered perception, with the artist’s particular focus offering audiences the means to see and think with new paths and trajectories. In today’s tumultuous world, which lies on the precipice of ecological, social, political, and economic collapse, we are undoubtedly in desperate need of new models of living and being. The situations that Roach constructs could be considered as tools in our collective quest for open cognition and the subsequent formation of new creative thought & action.

For the environmental installation Roach has created for New Viewings, the imagery on the walls and in the wall-mounted works are derived from AI/machine learning models he has created. These have been trained on: Goya’s ‘cartones para tapices’ paintings (1775-1792); Disney’s ‘Bambi’ (1942); 17th-18th Century Dutch flower paintings; and ‘The Simpsons’ (1989-present). Roach’s ongoing investigation into and display of found images and objects has focussed upon the potential for change that shifts in quotidian perceptual constancy reveal.

Each of these images selected by Roach from such apparently disparate sources, are treated as equal to the other. There is no hierarchy based upon art historical precedent, popular or elitist taste. So while each retains echoes of its unique identity, it links to the others in a kind of delicately oscillating holding pattern, to establish a fluid, transformative whole in constant flux. Using these AI/machine learning models within the imagined space, Roach has created a number of animations (as above) juxtaposed with still imagery shown in a form related to painting so that the ‘paintings’ become literally fluid, irresolute, un-still lives that flirt with abstraction and figurative form.

Roach’s sensibility and interests roam across cultural divides. His interest in hacking or rewiring the everyday and mass culture has expressed itself in the iconography of popular music, vernacular architecture, philosophy and mass production, all activated within his deftly transgressive constellations of image/objects to speak to the past, present, and future in accents and forms of language accessible to the general public rather than a specialised art audience. All of this articulates his expectation that within the quotidian lies an endless field of radical possibility.

Damien Roach is a London-based artist, researcher and lecturer. He studied at the Royal College of Art. His projects span art, design & creative direction, publishing, sound/music and audiovisual. Recent projects include immersive AV performances at London’s ICA and Tate Modern, design for clients ranging from Wysing Arts Centre to Disney, and publishing a journal exploring non-dystopic future visions with a host of contributors including Susan Hiller, Dr. Isabella Maidment, Hans Ulrich Obrist, and Liam Gillick.

Roach has exhibited widely, including at the 51st Venice Biennale, ‘Learn to Read’ at Tate Modern, Art Now at Tate Britain, ‘Housewarming’ at Swiss Institute NYC, and solo presentations at institutions including DRAF, London, Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen, Switzerland, Arnolfini, Bristol, Gasworks, London and Neuer Aachener Kunstverein, Germany.

Damien Roach
Artefact #2 (Bambi 7) x 1, 2021
Unique archival pigment print on cotton rag mounted to aluminium. Machine learning model trained on Disney's ‘Bambi’ (1942)
112 x 112 cm

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Damien Roach
Artefact #5 (Flowers 5), 2021
Unique archival pigment print on cotton rag mounted to aluminium. Machine learning model trained on 17th & 18th century Dutch flower paintings
112 x 112 cm

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Damien Roach
Artefact #5 (Flowers 12), 2021
Unique archival pigment print on cotton rag mounted to aluminium. Machine learning model trained on 17tth & 18th century Dutch flower paintings
112 x 112 cm

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Damien Roach
Artefact #5 (Flowers 7), 2021
Unique archival pigment print on cotton rag mounted to aluminium. Machine learning model trained on 17tth & 18th century Dutch flower paintings
112 x 112 cm

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Damien Roach
Artefact #5 (Flowers v1), 2021
Digital video, machine learning model trained on 17th & 18th century Dutch flower paintings
1 minute (infinite loop)
Edition of 3

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Damien Roach
Artefact #5 (Flowers v2), 2021
Digital video, machine learning model trained on 17th & 18th century Dutch flower paintings
1 minute (infinite loop)
Edition of 3

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Damien Roach
Artefact #1 (Goya 3), 2021
Unique archival pigment print on cotton rag mounted to aluminium. Machine learning model trained on Goya’s ‘cartones para tapices’ paintings (1775-1792)
112 x 112 cm

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Damien Roach
Artefact #1 (Goya 11), 2021
Unique archival pigment print on cotton rag mounted to aluminium. Machine learning model trained on Goya’s ‘cartones para tapices’ paintings (1775-1792)
112 x 112 cm

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Damien Roach
Artefact #1 (Goya 6), 2021
2021 Unique archival pigment print on cotton rag mounted to aluminium. Machine learning model trained on Goya’s ‘cartones para tapices’ paintings (1775-1792)
112 x 112 cm

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Damien Roach
Artefact #1 (Goya), 2021
Digital video, machine learning model trained on Goya’s ‘cartones para tapices’ paintings (1775-1792)
1 minute (infinite loop)
Edition of 3

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Damien Roach
Artefact #3 (The Simpsons 9), 2021
Unique archival pigment print on cotton rag mounted to aluminium. Machine learning model trained on ‘The Simpsons’ (1989-present)
112 x 112 cm

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Damien Roach
Artefact #3 (The Simpsons 4), 2021
Unique archival pigment print on cotton rag mounted to aluminium. Machine learning model trained on ‘The Simpsons’ (1989-present)
112 x 112 cm

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Damien Roach
Artefact #3 (The Simpsons 15), 2021
Unique archival pigment print on cotton rag mounted to aluminium. Machine learning model trained on ‘The Simpsons’ (1989-present)
112 x 112 cm

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Damien Roach
Artefact #3 (The Simpsons), 2021
Digital video, machine learning model trained on ‘The Simpsons’ (1989-present)
1 minute (infinite loop)
Edition of 3

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