Electronic Superhighway 2016-1966 10.02.16

Nam June Paik is credited with first use of the phrase “Electronic Superhighway” in 1974, identifying the creative and cultural potential of a world connected by the new technology. The Whitechapel Gallery takes this phrase as the title for a wide ranging exhibition covering the relationship between art, technology and the internet over five decades by 70 artists.

The ground floor gallery covers the 21st century (2000-2016) and discusses the impact of technology on our lives, the extent to which we are manipulated by it, the benefits it has brought, the potential for exploitation, and provokes discussions of what might come next.

Further rooms feature a collection of net art from 1993 onwards, before traveling further back in time to cover early gaming, video, painting, events and music – all of which in some way subvert the new technologies. The works illustrate the spectacular rate of evolution, wave after wave of technological innovation – film > television > video > home computing > coding > DTP > CD-ROM > gaming > world-wide-web > online publishing > e-commerce > mobile technology > peer-to-peer > crowd-sourcing > social media > streaming > cloud technology > the internet of things … generations of buzz words and media slogans, many of which are already anachronistic. Each phenomenon with a story of rise to prominence, media celebration/condemnation (the rise of a new technology = death of an old one), and inevitable replacement. Concurrent with this technological timeline is a diverse array of creativity – policing the excesses of media, government and industry in their race to exploit the latest innovations.

Queer Technologies: Disingenuous Bar - Zach Blas

Self Portrait: July 17, 2012 - Evan Roth, 2013

Sueño de una Tarde - Aleksandra Domanović, 2014

Do You Have Work Tomorrow? - Mahmoud Khaled, 2012

Deep Face - Douglas Coupland, 2015

Excellences & Perfections (Instagram Update, 18th June 2014) - Amalia Ulman, 2015

Internet Dream - Nam June Paik, 1994

Lorna - Lynn Hershman Leeson, 1979-82

Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T) - E.A.T News, Vol. 1, 1967

Boomerang - Nancy Holt/Richard Serra, 1974

Cybernetic Serendipity, 1968