'A Congruence of Energy' by Gina Herrera.

‘2017 Open Show’ @ 825 Gallery

December 20, 2017

The 2017 Open Show held by the Los Angeles Artist Association brought an eclectic mix of contemporary artists out, most of whom were generous samplings of the pursuit of creative experimentation. It was not simply the innovative media used to impregnate the viewers with new textures, but also the symbolic expressions themselves which were overall harmonious and enriching. Contrast this to the alternative, which would have been socially condescending works which have typified postmodernism.

 

It was again nice to see a pattern in the Los Angeles contemporary art scene with what I take to be a transhumanist interpretation of integrating staunchly organic media with man-made materials. This what is seen categorically with A Congruency of Energy by Gina Herrera. The staunchly organic material consistently is arboreal in nature, likely because it does the trick in conveying the organic as well as its ease of artistic crafting. In any case, the fusion of the creation of nature with the creation of man may speak to a relic of the past, of a Pagan reverence for the natural and a craving for mankind to find completeness with an integration within it. However, I see not a yearning for the past, but an optimism for the future on what man can become.

 

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True, a more plausible reading of this as transhumanism would see some sort of digital electronics interwoven with the natural, but that presupposes technological advancement is necessarily computational and mechanical. Indeed, the best computational devices on Earth are biological organisms; they are the most adaptable devices in the known universe, capable of complex signal processing to promote their survival. Here then, we see not an act of dominion of man towards his environment, but rather matrimony, which can only imbue him and his world with a stronger sense of being; which, materially we can suggest is greater biological fitness, but further metaphysically we can suggest is greater agency in the world to come, i.e. in the becoming. Mankind’s future devices, then, are not self-contained within his rational axiomatic limitations; instead they ride the wave of the cosmos which has condensed viscously into biology, allowing the greatest prospects of utilizing his nature by amplifying his integration within Nature. The difference with this purview and the Pagan’s view of man’s integration with nature is the sufficiency of man’s being. In the latter non-Pagan purview presented, man’s being is beyond nature and the natural. Certainly Ancient Pagans believed in an immaterial reality, but only after evolving the idea of natural worship to the height of anthropomorphizing the Beyond via the gods of Ancient Greece, giving man the plausible idea of a soul and nether realms (though this spiritual evolution may be found throughout world history).

 

What also supports the interpretation of this piece as transhumanist versus anthropologically retrospective is the curation of other works at the opening which were technologically contemporary. I Ching In America, Hexagrams #35 by Chenhung Chen augments the idea that technological progress will not be through electronics, as even our remedial collection of gadgetry causes a necessarily evil medley of cables.

 

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Tales from the Cryptocurrency by Raidi Sanchez is an ethereal work with a cryptic monolith landing vesicle of an ostensibly technologically advanced extraterrestrial. This work in particular champions the arrival of a better world through technological progress, with its sanguine symbolic expressions; but most noticeably consistent with A Congruency in Energy is the art’s emphasis of harmony with nature. Technological advancement, therefore, leads to communion with nature, not overpowering it. And instead of aliens subjugating our race, they beam downward to spread this cosmic gospel amidst verdantcy.

 

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However, not all the works were as optimistic about the future advances of technology being fruitfully harnessed by mankind. 10 Downing by Alex Zohar sardonically retorts about the use, or rather abuse, of technology in a political context. First there is the fact that this television feed is being played on a flat screen rather than a boob tube, signifying the “advanced” state of mankind’s technology. But the irony lay in the fact the owner of the television in the composition is likely an American who has no skin in the game in how a British society organizes itself.

 

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We may reach and suppose there is a continuity between the Brexit advocates and the television viewer with his American brew by his side (and the “Budwiser” misspelling does not go unnoticed) – but that takes a consumer of American-made beverages to be preternaturally inimical to global cooperation. But are we to accept as a matter of faith that all global cooperation is necessarily virtuous? Is cooperation itself necessarily good? Certainly, what is more important is the direction in which humanity aims itself for, not that it reaches a consensus on the point. Instead, I prefer to interpret the work as a critique of the quality of human agency. Despite the innumerable tools that have emerged and will increasingly make human living disconnected, there will always be the need for those who have an advanced morality, to be able to use these tools in the best way possible to achieve peace and prosperity – the common aim for all of mankind.

 

 

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