“What if the truth is in its material configuration? What if the medium is really a message?” – Hito Steyerl
Alchemical Transformations is a group exhibition of material and post-digital sculpture from Bay Area artists Brian Bartz and Kelley O’Leary alongside Chicago-based artist Blue McCall in collaboration with local darlings Proof of Body. The exhibition pushes back against the rigid and structured hegemony of time and space on post-internet Earth. The network, to which we are all beholden, imposes on human life a compulsory duty to quantify our identities and structure our time into small packets of linear information with which we can be repackaged as commodities. Works in this show include bizarre machines that turn digital devices inside out, crystallized e-waste rocks, clay body sculptures made from earth samples collected from data storage centers, photographic stills that insist on movement, and dance film captured by hacked-webcam-ballgags worn in the mouths of dancers. As a group, the exhibition offers multiple proposals – for a messy, entangled digital ecosystem located in a flawed technological present, where time unfolds queerly in ways that do not always make sense, in analog space that somehow maintains an ethereal quality.