June 15, 2015 - Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art - Under the Clouds: From Paranoia to the Digital Sublime
June 15, 2015

Under the Clouds: From Paranoia to the Digital Sublime

Nuclear bomb explosion, Baker test, Bikini, 25 July 1946.

Under the Clouds: From Paranoia to the Digital Sublime
20 June–20 September 2015

Opening: 19 June, 10pm–midnight  

Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art
Rua D. João de Castro, 210
4150–417 Porto


Adel Abdessemed, Horst Ademeit, Cory Arcangel, Arte Nucleare, Darren Bader, Enrico Baj, Robert Barry, Eduardo Batarda, Thomas Bayrle, Neïl Beloufa, René Bertholo, Joseph Beuys, K.P. Brehmer, Bruce Conner, Kate Cooper, Gregory Corso, Guy Debord, Harun Farocki, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Carla Filipe, General Idea, Melanie Gilligan, Jean-Luc Godard & Anne-Marie Miéville, Peter Halley, Rachel Harrison, Mona Hatoum, Pedro Henriques, Thomas Hirschhorn, Yves Klein, Sean Landers, Elad Lassry, Mark Lombardi, Julie Mehretu, Katja Novitskova, Ken Okiishi, Trevor Paglen, Nam June Paik, Silvestre Pestana, Pratchaya Phinthong, Seth Price, Martha Rosler, Thomas Ruff, Jacolby Satterwhite, Ângelo de Sousa, Frances Stark, Haim Steinbach, Hito Steyerl, Jean Tinguely, Adelhyd van Bender, Stan VanDerBeek, Andy Warhol, Christopher Williams, Christopher Wool, Anicka Yi

Since the second half of the 20th century, we have lived under the shadow of two clouds: the mushroom cloud of the atomic bomb, and now the “cloud” of information networks. How did the metaphor of post-war paranoia become the utopian metaphor for today’s interconnected world? Under the Clouds confronts the interrelated effects and affects of these two clouds on life and work, leisure and love, and on images, bodies, and minds. If the mushroom cloud represented the potential annihilation of human civilization, the “cloud” is the diaphanous representation of the network-driven, information-saturated conditions in which we increasingly live. We are assailed with the effects and affects of the cloud; data overwhelms us with needs, demands, and sensations. Information floating in the cloud—where data is now increasingly stored and controlled—replaces the invisible threat of radiation, moving through apparently unseen yet pervasive ways. The singular image of the cloud, unseen yet floating above us, stands for everything from the abstractions of the financial system, to the increasingly mediated character of our social relationships, the role of algorithms, and the affects of liking and sharing. In these ineffable clouds lies the phantasmagorical nature of our contemporary sublime.

The information technologies of the nuclear era have now evolved to fit in the palm of our hand; we no longer merely look at images, we now touch, scroll, pinch, and drag them. Where is the border between the self and its data shadow, between information, memory, and knowledge? The biological, economic, and political effects of living under the clouds have taken the form of new relations between data and material; screens, images, and things; and the changing nature of sex and work. As earlier forms of technologically inflected art sought to mitigate the effects of rapid change—both on perception and society—many of today’s artistic practices confront the myriad interfaces and decentralized networks that continue to shape and transform daily life, forming new evolving connections between bits and atoms.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated book featuring an essay by curator João Ribas and contributions by Enrico Baj & Sergio Dangelo, Thomas Hirschhorn, Sean Landers, Metahaven, Frances Stark, Hito Steyerl, Seth Price and Stan VanDerBeek. 

Under the Clouds is curated by João Ribas, Deputy Director and Senior Curator, Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art.

For further information and image requests, please contact m.morais [​at​] serralves.pt.

About Serralves 
The Serralves Museum of Contemporary is the foremost museum for contemporary art in Portugal, and one of Europe’s most renowned institutions for contemporary art and culture. Uniquely sited on the grounds of the Serralves Foundation, which also comprises a park and the Serralves Villa, a landmark art deco building, the Museum designed by Álvaro Siza opened in 1999. Through its exhibitions, collection, publications, performing arts, and public programmes, the Museum fosters the understanding and appreciation of contemporary art and culture in Portugal and around the world. 

Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art presents Under the Clouds: From Paranoia to the Digital Sublime
Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art
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