London-based art gallery LD50 debuted an art show May 1st, created by Twitter commentator Kantbot, Youtube artist TV Amerikwa, Logo Daedulus, Menaquinone4, Nick P, and 95364421130. The gallery is an interactive, performance exhibit where viewers print "offensive" tweets and other content, and then destroy them, per the instructions of fictional start-up Kwaly. Viewers play the role of the employee of the "corporation."
Kwaly is a hypothetical corporation that operates on behalf social media companies. Kantbot said that Kwaly "seeks to physically manifest online content hate in order to 'deconstruct' it." "We really wanted to showcase what we felt was the future of virtue signaling...but for online hate." Corporeality is designed to explore the intersection between the internet and physical realm, and the problems with the intersection between the two. This idea is what drew LD50 to the team's ideas.
Another feature of the exhibit is a gallery of distorted images from women on Tinder, rendered by a generative adversarial network, a type of algorithm. GANs are typically used to sample photo-realistic images in design applications.
Corporeality is self-consciously postmodern, but rather than use it to deconstruct patriarchy or hierarchy it examines the nature of modern office work and the corporate environment. The use of postmodernism by ostensibly right wing artists is an unusual combination, but "It's still ultimately very conflicting," TV Kwa said. Kantbot thought this was why people have been drawn to the show: "it's not really 'art' in any traditional way. This kind of art is really more about abstractions, and trying to create a loose physical metaphorical template for discussing them in."
Initial concepts were more ambitious--one plan was to set up half the space as a NEET's bedroom complete with fake video games and anime posters, with the other half as an "ideal world of memetics," TV Kwa said. The team, however, decided that a more sterile office space better fit the constraints of the show. The show serves as a parody of modern office work and its infantilizing nature.
This latest LD50 show grew out of a previous exhibit of tweets printed on plaques from Frog Twitter personas, done initially without their knowledge. Kantbot asked for attribution and the gallery asked if he was interested in doing another show. He later asked if TV Kwa, Menaquinone4, and Logo wanted to take part. The group quickly set aside ideas of just exhibiting tweets.
Gallery owner Lucia Diego is not "a far right reactionary. She just has..the healthy curiosity a lot of artists have that gets them in trouble," TV Kwa said. LD50 has had a long history of problems with the predominantly far-left art world and "anti-fascist" protesters. LD50 sponsored talks by right wing bloggers Bret Stevens and Nick Land, another point of contention for leftist agitators. Vandalism shuttered the gallery for a month earlier this year. The events surrounding LD50 show how politicized the art world has become. Agitators have mobilized a Stop LD50 to shut the gallery down in the past. Some of the protests against the galleries have been mobilized by MFA programs and art departments.
The LD50 show shows how the world of internet memes interact with the real world. While it is not a classically styled show that promotes traditional aesthetics, it uses post-modern values of transgression and critique from left wing shibboleths to the neoliberal system. What some might see as"degenerate art" is the most capable of responding to a socially and culturally unbalanced world. Corporeality also explores an accelerated vision of what online censorship might look like if taken to an absurd conclusion.
Corporeality is a synthesis of performance and visual art, a form common to radical feminists. Yet, the show is not merely a "right-wing" reaction to this kind of art. The strength in the show lies not in its conscious advancement of a brand of rhetoric, but by illustrating an extreme example of the modern world. While the art show itself may be an outmoded form of propagating art, the attempt by a creative avant-garde like the creators of Corporeality to put something in the real world is promising.