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Exhibition invites audiences to enter the fantastical worlds of six artists
Justin Shoulder, Carrion 2018. Courtesy the artist. Photography and image Liz Ham and Tristan Jalleh.

MELBOURNE.- Feedback Loops explores the role of the cycle, the echo and reiteration in the personal mythologies of participating artists, and in artistic propositions for alternate worlds and speculative fictions. Featuring new and existing works by artists born in the 1980s, whose embrace of new media – which has become ‘everyday’ over their lifetimes – is tempered with an awareness of this same technology’s complex role in the construction of where we may be headed.

The works and worlds presented in Feedback Loops take the form of the theatrical, spectacular and the absurd, in their adoption of the ethics and aesthetics of sampling, and re-interpreting of the artist’s real, fictive and virtual experiences. References to spirituality, mythology, philosophy and personal histories are looped into these worlds alongside popular culture and a wide array of technological storytelling and image making.

The physical and digital environments these artists have created for this exhibition, and over the course of their careers, comprise installations of video, sculpture, costuming, gaming, artificial intelligence, as well as recorded and live performance. The characters – human and non-human, real and fictive – are those who appear, re-appear and are reworked across the artists’ works. A cyclical and playful sensibility is brought into play throughout the exhibition, coupled with at times challenging considerations of the human capacity for empathy towards each other, and readiness to approach the the unknown and the unknowable.

Artists and projects include:

Madison Bycroft’s sculptural and performance work samples from philosophy, art history, mythology and pop music to create carefully crafted and highly theatrical video installations. Commissioned for Feedback Loops, Bycroft will present a new immersive project designed to consider acts of refusal, including confounding the need for interpretation: of desire; of the self and as distinct to others; of a work of art. Bycroft is a graduate from the University of South Australia, and has presented work at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris, and in the 2019 Future Generation Art Prize, exhibited at Pinchuk Art Centre, Kiev, as well as part of a collateral event to the 2019 Venice Biennale. Bycroft will present a live performance, Antihero, that will activate the sculptural forms and spill out in to ACCA’s foyer from 3pm, on Saturday 14 December 2019.

Tianzhuo Chen’s practice brings together influences and aesthetics from Buddhist art and philosophy through to British rave aesthetics, and works across genres of art, performance, music videos, fashion and design. considering the club as akin to the modern temple. Chen will present an video installation, in part produced in collaboration with Los Angeles based animator and artist Andrew Thomas Huang, that extend his exploration of ritual, and the idea of the nightclub as a modern temple. A graduate of Fine Art from Chelsea College, London, Chen is known internationally as the driving force behind the multifaceted brand ASIANDOPEBOYS, and has presented major installation and performance works at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris, K11 Art Museum in Shanghai, The Broad, Los Angeles and Faurschou Foundation in Venice.

Lu Yang is interested in the intersection of neuroscience, belief and technology, and has at times described herself as living in the internet. Lu has recently worked specifically in the medium of gaming, drawing on the aesthetics of anime, Buddhist art, consumer culture, arcade games and science fiction, to traverse concerns ranging from the politics of gender construction to cancer. The recent game Material World Knight 2019 brings together a cast of Lu’s characters from over the past seven years – from Uterus Man to her own virtual self – and will be shown in two interactive gaming suites in Feedback Loops. A graduate of the new media art department of the China Academy of Arts in Hangzhou, Lu is highly regarded as one of the most significant artists pushing boundaries in this field. Lu has exhibited widely internationally, including in 2015, presenting a major motion-capture video installation in the Chinese Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. In association with AsiaTOPA and the Sinofuturist program, ACCA is also please to support Lu’s presentation of the live motions capture performance Electromagnetic Brainology at Melbourne’s Federation Square in early March 2020.

Sahej Rahal is a sculptor, painter, performer and self-confessed Star Wars fan who describes his body of work as a growing mythology that brings together real and mythical beings, social, political and spiritual histories and a keen interest in the science fiction-led practice of ‘worlding’. Rahal will be undertaking a residency at Monash University in the lead up to the exhibition, to produce large scale sculptures that draw on the detritus of the real world. These works will be displayed alongside, and echo the forms of the zoomorphic characters that populate Rahal’s new artificial intelligence programs – Antraal (which translates as the interstice or the space between) and Shrota (the listener) – and their endless journeys through his virtual landscapes.

Justin Shoulder works with performance, sculpture and video contracting a cast of characters – or an ‘ecology of alter-egos’ as Shoulder describes them – under the umbrella of an ongoing work, Phasmahammer, that seeks to queer ancestral mythologies. Operating across the art gallery, cinema, night club and theatre, for Feedback Loops, Shoulder will augment the character Carrion, working live in the gallery space over one week in late February 2020, building on his series of episodic character developments... Shoulder has exhibited nationally and internationally, including recently as La Manutention performance artist in residence at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris, and collaborative as Club Ate with Bhenji Ra in the 8th Asia Pacific Triennial at Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane.

Zadie Xa has developed a growing personal mythology and narrative approach to diasporic practice that draws inspiration from the role of the matriarch, shaman and ocean Korean folklore, interspliced with pop culture, fashion, science fiction and environmentalism. For Feedback Loops, Xa is presenting new and existing works in an immersive installation comprising costuming, masks, sound and video. Xa received a Master’s degree in Painting at the Royal College of Art in London and completed her undergraduate studies at Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in Vancouver, Canada. Xa presented new work as part of the key curated performance program at the 2019 Venice Biennale and in the same year opened the major solo project presented collaboratively at Yarat Contemporary Art Space, Azerbaijan, Tramway, Glasgow, Scotland, and De La Warr Pavillion, Bexhill on Sea, United Kingdom.

The exhibition is on view at Australian Centre for Contemporary Art through 22 March, 2020.

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