MEANWHILE are delighted to present “Free of Charge”
Curated by Nina Dyer
XI LI, GEORGE TURNER - FREE OF CHARGE
CURATED BY NINA DYER
ONLINE EXHIBITION OPENING WEDNESDAY 29 JULY
SHOWING FROM 29 JULY - 12 AUGUST 2020
MEANWHILE are excited to present Free of Charge, conceptualised by Nina Dyer.
Free of Charge brings you new works by digital artists George Turner and Xi Li, unhindered by the limitations of a physical gallery space. This online exhibition demonstrates just how advanced digital artforms are amongst practitioners who work with the immaterial medium, despite its lack of perceived commercial viability.
Free of Charge’s provocation concerns the fraught property status of digital art on the internet; intellectual property law is not just complex but largely unenforceable online, while the medium’s validity is largely dismissed due to market values and institutional gatekeeping. This feeds into the lack of protections afforded to artists sharing original work online—something that is increasingly necessary to sustain a relevant practice. The site features a thought experiment—a pay-as-you-wish paywall that allows audiences to enter a value of $0-100 before viewing the works, prompting viewers to consider how they value different forms of creative content produced online.
Both artists share their work extensively across social media, despite the risk of IP theft or the decontextualising effect this mode of distribution can engender. The readiness of emerging artists to share their work in this way is symptomatic of an industry that places more value on sound investments than progressive experimentation; without recourse to institutional copyright protections, young artists are exposed to the threat of appropriation in order to play the contemporary art game. Ultimately, Free of Charge sheds light on the asymmetry between paid consumption of certain content online (via platforms such as Netflix and Patreon), and audience expectations that visual art presented online should be freely available.
About the artists:
Xi Li is a Tāmaki Makaurau-based artist working predominantly in new media. Free of Charge includes the latest iteration of her ongoing project Brain Island, a choose-your-own-adventure game featuring computer-generated ‘heterotopias’ and green-screened avatars. Xi is currently working towards an MFA at Elam School of Fine Arts, Auckland, and was an exhibiting finalist in the 2019 Eden Arts Trust Art Awards.
George Turner is a Te Whanganui-a-Tara based artist. Their 360 degree videos included in Free of Charge are centred around different characters, each personifying different aspects of the digital world. Earlier this year, Turner worked on Lisa Reihana’s digital artwork ‘Ihi’, a large-scale permanent commission for Tāmaki Makaurau’s Aotea Centre. Their first solo exhibition, ‘RGB Landscapes’, was facilitated by Hunters & Collectors in 2019.
Nina Dyer co-curated A Way Through in 2019, exhibited at Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Art Gallery and the Adam Art Gallery Te Pātaka, where she also developed public programmes for 'On the Last Afternoon: Disrupted Ecologies and the Work of Joyce Campbell' and 'Te Taniwha: The Manuscript of Ārikirangi' as their 2019 Intern. She is currently an administrator at Enjoy Contemporary Art Space and developing self-initiated curatorial projects.