“Save As…” at NYC Pop-Up Gallery, Bunker

An exhibition focusing on the artistic struggle between humans and computers

Is art produced by a computer (with a human creator behind it) any less valuable than works created by a maker’s hands? The answer, of course, is no. And yet, the place of digitally crafted works has still not been wholly embraced by the art world. That’s what a new exhibition at the NYC pop-up BUNKER Gallery explores. Curated by Gabriel Barcia-Colombo, the show “Save As…” features four artists playing with the idea of computer collaboration. On site, Danish artist, designer and programmer Rune Madsen presents work made through challenging computer code. Ashley Zelinskie’s 3D-printed sculptures reveal secret coded developments. Pedro G. C. Oliveira taps into the world of audio cassettes and offers up musical sculptures. Interdisciplinary artist Rosalie Yu’s work mesmerizes at the cross-section of human and machine. Altogether, “Save As…” and the BUNKER Gallery itself offer an immersion into the various approaches to modern making.

The art world is still pretty scared of technology-based work

“As an artist myself I felt like tech art is always displayed in these very particular niche settings,” curator Barcia-Colombo explains to CH. “The art world is still pretty scared of technology-based work. I wanted to start a gallery of beautiful art that just happens to be made using digital techniques in order to make these concepts accessible to everyone.” Barcia-Colombo wants to be the impetus for change and “Save As…” does offer accessible works that make viewers think twice about what they’re looking at.

“Each of the four artists make conceptual work revolving around our relationship to computers,” he continues, noting his admiration of all four. “Rune Madsen creates programatic prints in which a computer generates algorithmic designs and then deletes his source code. Ashley Zelinskie takes the raw .jpeg code of the photo image of the Mona Lisa and laser cuts it into canvas. I was thinking of the concept of the show and these artists fit perfectly. They all create completely different work but have a very similar view of technology and art.”

The aesthetic variation and artistic diversity of the pieces allows for many access points to the show. The work engages and viewers can acknowledge the impact of computers on the pieces or ignore it. In many ways it’s a next step toward a digital art future but as Barcia-Colombo concludes, “I think it’s only a matter of time before we see gallery shows created entirely by computers. We are in a transition phase right now and this show addresses that. It really is a show for people who love technology but hate art, or love art but hate technology.”

“Save As…” is open just for the weekend, closing 6 March at BUNKER Gallery (103 Allen Street) NYC.

Install images courtesy of Bunker Gallery