The National Art Center, Tokyo, announces the exhibition entitled Universal / Remote to be presented from Wednesday, March 6, 2024, to Monday, June 3, 2024. The exhibition references prevailing conditions in the 21st century as capital and data flow freely on a global scale. Conveying comical aspects of the excesses of surveillance and high-tech networks, as well as the profound isolation of human beings, works in this exhibition seem to grapple head-on with the current era and with the post-COVID world. The exhibition presents the works of 8 artists and a group of 3 artists that address the state of society in the 21st century as shaped by the conditions described above, focusing on two concepts, “Constant Growth at a Pan-Global Scale” and “The Remote Individual.”
While “Pan-” (i.e. “Univesal”) and “Remote” may seem worlds apart, they are not opposing concepts, but rather resemble two mirrors reflecting each other. The exhibition reinterprets existing themes in contemporary art from the perspectives of the global-scale “Universal” and the “Remote” that isolates flesh-and-blood humans and controls things from afar, addressing global capitalism and societyʼs shift to a digital future.
Much of the art presented here was made not during the pandemic, but in 2019 or earlier. After the experiences of the last few years, can we ever view these works in the context in which they were first exhibited? These works, evoking the absurdities wrought by excessive surveillance and precision technology and the profound isolation of human beings within these systems, intrepidly confront both the current era and prospects for a post-COVID world.
Xu Bing, Screenshot of The Making of Dragonfly Eyes (2017) ©Xu Bing Studio. Courtesy of the Artist.
Xu Bing, Dragonfly Eyes, 2017Video, surveillance camera footage taken from public live-streaming websites (81min)© Xu Bing Studio Courtesy of the Artist
Universal / Remote features a large number of works by artists based outside Japan. Xu Bing's first moving image work, Dragonfly Eyes will be screened at the exhibition. It is a film that stitches together 11,000 hours of footage from surveillance cameras freely available on the internet. In addition to video art by Xu, a renowned, globally active contemporary artist based in New York and Beijing, the National Art Center, Tokyo presents works by Hito Steyerl (in collaboration with Giorgi Gago Gagoshidze and Miloš Trakilović), who has been at the forefront of the international art scene since the 2010s; Trevor Paglen, who integrates cutting-edge science and technology with contemporary art; and Evan Roth, who applies a hacker mind to the creation of art in diverse media. Works by the Danish photographer Tina Enghoff, who spans the fields of photojournalism, fine art, and activism, and the up-and-coming South Korean video artist Jeamin Cha will be exhibited in Japan for the first time. A work by Maiko Jinushi that encompass both of the showʼ s two key concepts, with ambitious works by Daisuke Ida and new works by Natsuko Kiura including those created for this exhibition will also be showed.
About the Exhibition
Dates: March 6 (Wed), 2024 – June 3 (Mon), 2024
Venue: The National Art Center, Tokyo
Address: Special Exhibition Gallery 1E, 7-22-2 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-8558
Courtesy of The National Art Center, Tokyo.