“Machine Violence” Exhibition

Postmasters Gallery

poster for “Machine Violence” Exhibition
[Image: Jennifer & Kevin McCoy "Horror Chase" (2002)]

This event has ended.

Postmasters 5.0 is a moving target - our next exhibition will occupy a spectacular ground floor space on Bond Street in downtown Manhattan.

Machine Violence is a show for this moment, a visually stunning exhibition of topical relevance. It will bring together works in all media from software to painting. Several historic projects by digital pioneers (McCoys, Mattesses, Manetas) will be presented alongside current works of the new generation (Huntrezz, Damjanski).

Machine violence invariably fosters fear and disruption on an individual or societal scale. As artworks in this exhibition attest, it is left to humans - artists, in this case - to redirect, subvert, and/or transcend the literal narrative.

Fitting the current moment of intense uncertainty along the art-technology axis, this show can potentially triangulate two significant museum exhibitions currently on view in New York: Signals at MoMA and Refigured at The Whitney Museum.

The exhibition location, a former carpentry shop with skylights, brick walls and a 20 foot-tall ceiling, will be cleaned but otherwise left “as is” - raw - freeing the artists’ projections, screens, sculptures, prints and paintings from the homogeneity of a white box. Art can survive anywhere. Joining a salient history of co-opting raw spaces for art: Gavin Brown’s Harlem space, Triple Candie, The Project, Sculpture Center - we will continue this countering flow at the moment of extreme showroom effect.

Eva & Franco Mattes, Biennale.PY, Perpetual Self Dis/Infecting Machine (2001-2003)

Damjanski, Post Human Dog - Einstein, 2020
Works in the show:

The exhibition centerpiece will be Horror Chase (2002) by Jennifer and Kevin McCoy, who have worked collaboratively since early 2000 (Kevin McCoy is also widely recognized for creating the first art NFT in 2014). Newly remastered into 4K, Horror Chase is based on the climactic chase sequence from the film, “Evil Dead 2”, re-enacted on a custom stage set. Each shot is digitized individually and processed by a custom computer program that selects clips randomly. The chase becomes a continuously variable incarnation of an endless - and futile - escape attempt. The images are projected on a cinematic scale, and the computer hardware is installed in a black briefcase which forms a part of the installation. Given the recent explosion of interest in generative art, the McCoy’s piece may be one of the earliest examples of algorithmically created cinematic footage - a software/hardware combination of object and projection.

Eva and Franco Mattes are the notorious Italian artist’s team working with internet and digital media since the late 1990s. One of their most iconic works, Biennale.PY, Perpetual Self Dis/Infecting Machine (2001-2003) is an aesthetically alluring, customized computer encased in plexiglass, with all parts exposed. It only has two software programs installed: the virus that the artists made in 2001 for the Venice Biennale, and the “Norton Utilities” antivirus patch. The computer is in a perpetual mode of being infected, then disinfected, then rebooted; a machine locked forever in a fight between good and evil.

There will be three early key works of machinima in the show: Miltos Manetas’ Flame (1997) of Lara Croft committing suicide; Eddo Stern’s masterwork Vietnam Romance (2003) where key war scenes are recreated through video games like “Grand Theft Auto” and “MASH”; and Eva and Franco Mattes’ Freedom (2010), a haunting montage of death scenes from iconic first-person shooter games.

Damjanski will present his app, Bye, Bye Camera (2020), the AI-powered camera for the post-human era, which automatically removes people from any picture someone takes. The tool digitally detects and erases body shapes, but keeps human traces like shadows. The app will be shown along with photographic prints of Post Human Dog (2020), his pandemic-time series of dogs with no owners.

Gracelee Lawrence will present two large scale, 3D-printed sculptures of fragmented, battered bodies.

Jen Catron and Paul Outlaw are making a lamp, a huge, functioning, fruit flies - killing zapper encased in plexiglass.

Chando Ao’s kinetic sculpture in the show will be a computer driven chair/cradle for grownups that belies its mean and ominous torture device look, to soothingly rock the sitter.

Huntrezz will show - as either AR or video - a series of Instagram filters that recast the user as a series of armored, warrior-like characters.

Also on view will be Miltos Manetas still life paintings of computer components from 1998-2010. A mid-show performance is planned where Manetas will, via WhatsApp and a local assistant, paint a still life remotely from Bogotá.



from May 05, 2023 to May 31, 2023

Opening Reception on 2023-05-05 from 18:00 to 20:00

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