New Romance: art and the posthuman brings together 18 artists from Australia and Korea whose works encourage us to ask what it means to be human today, and what it might mean in the future. Drawing inspiration from science fiction, robotics, biotechnology, consumer products and social media, they offer experiences that raise questions around the idea of the posthuman; a concept that signals new understandings of humanity and a breakdown of boundaries between what we think of as natural and artificial.
The artists also reflect on issues such as hybridisation, hyper-consumerism and alternative futures; inviting us to consider how our relationship with the natural world is changing, through our increased ability to alter our environment and through the threat of ecological apocalypse. Several of the artists take on the role of inventor or even mad scientist; experimenting with living organisms, building strange machines and constructing artificial worlds. Some investigate how our emotions are triggered when interacting with objects, while others try to see the world from a nonhuman perspective. Raising more questions than answers, their curious and inventive works make us wonder what the future may hold.
Artists: Rebecca Baumann, Ian Burns, Hayden Fowler, Siyon Jin, Airan Kang, Sanghyun Lee, Soyo Lee, Wade Marynowsky, Moon Kyungwon & Jeon Joonho, Patricia Piccinini & Peter Hennessey, Kibong Rhee, Justin Shoulder, Giselle Stanborough, Stelarc & Nina Sellars, Wonbin Yang
Artists Siyon Jin, Soyo Lee, Giselle Stanborough, Justin Shoulder and Stelarc are presenting a range of live events and performances as part of the exhibition.
Curators: Anna Davis (MCA) & Houngcheol Choi (MMCA)
This exhibition is accompanied by a publication available from the MCA Store on level 1
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Airan Kang’s Digital Book Project (2016) examines the book as a symbol of human knowledge and its significance as a portal for information both as a physical object and in virtual space.View More
Sanghyun Lee digitally manipulates historical Korean paintings set in North Korea blending layers of history and fiction, past, present and future to examine the hyper-materialism he believes is taking over contemporary Korean society.View More
For New Romance, artist Soyo Lee presents a series of cactus-grafting workshops that explore the history of the moon cactus, a strange mutant plant that cannot photosynthesise on its own and has to be joined to another plant in order to survive.View More
Moonwalker (2016) is a robotic sculpture that reflects on pop cultural notions of moonwalking and the idea of being in two places at once. Its movements are designed to recall Michael Jackson’s famous dance move and astronauts on walking the moon.View More
In the video installation EL FIN DEL MUNDO (2012) (which translates as THE END OF THE WORLD) Moon & Jeon reflect on ‘the social function and role of contemporary art’ in a future in which they argue ‘major climate change will endanger human survival’.View More
Patricia Piccinini and Peter Hennessey’s installation imagines a world where genetic modification technologies are easily accessible, allowing people to create hybrid creatures that combine parts of humans, animals, plants and non-living things.View More
Kibong Rhee’s kinetic sculpture intertwines the human act of writing with the environmental phenomenon of falling snow. During the exhibition an artificial arm slowly covers the back of two glass panels in small white circles creating a field of thickening ‘snow’.View More
Justin Shoulder’s work emerges from a history of queer performance that evolved in Sydney’s nightclub scene from the 1970s. He describes it as a ‘queer ecosystem’ populated by ‘Fantastic Creatures’ that exist in an ‘open-source, techno-media space’.View More
Giselle Stanborough’s multi-platform artwork is based around a fictional match-making service and explores ‘the quantification of love in the digital age’. It includes interventions in the MCA’s digital infrastructure, a product launch and a conference.View More
Blender is a collaborative artwork by Stelarc & Nina Sellars that combines sterilised bodily material surgically extracted from the two artists inside a sealed, air-powered machine. It raises questions about the use of human bodies in a medical context.View More
Wonbin Yang’s insect-like robots, made from urban waste and small mechanical parts, roam around their environment like living creatures, a metaphor for Yan’s idea of the contemporary city as a ‘primordial soup’, capable of generating new forms of life.View More
This exhibition is a partnership between the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia and the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA), Korea.
New Romance: art and the posthuman was shown at MMCA in Seoul 22 September 2015 – 24 January 2016