Text by CLOT Magazine
Last week to catch Mud Muses – A Rant About Technology exhibition in Stockholm. How do we understand the relationship between life and technology at a time when they seem to be completely merged? The group show takes its title from an installation by Robert Rauschenberg and an essay by science fiction writer Ursula K. Le Guin. It presents nineteen artists and groups in a time-travel through the important transformations that this relationship has undergone since the 1960s and by the means of manipulating and playing with (gender)codes, flip subjectivities, connecting with other intelligences and short-circuiting the promises of technology.
Curator Lars Bang Larsen reflects that in the 1960s, the aim was to integrate technology with everyday life; in 2019, that unification seemed accomplished and complete. In Robert Rauschenberg’s fifty-year-old artwork Mud Muse (1968–1971), sonic vibrations create random bubbles in a large, open, vat filled with synthetic sludge. Here our encounter with technology becomes both sticky and confusing. What a Mud Muse actually remains uncertain, but the installation makes one thing clear: technology is a notion that creates time and space and thus influences our sense of reality.
On the other hand, in her text A Rant About Technology (2004), Ursula K. Le Guin uncouples technology from common sense and progress. She writes: Technology is the active human interface with the material world. What is the relationship between and with this interface and it’s evolving complexity levels?
Participating artists include: Charlotte Johannesson, Lucy Siyao Liu, Anna Lundh, The Otolith Group, Robert Rauschenberg, Jenna Sutela and more.