Julie Weitz - The Hand Network; HUMDOG a prelude
Dates: September 9 – October 28, 2017
Opening Reception: Saturday, September 9, 2017, 5 - 8 p.m
Chimento Contemporary is pleased to present a solo exhibition by Julie Weitz in the side gallery, with a new video project by Julie Weitz. Inspired by Carmen Hermosillo aka HUMDOG.
Julie Weitz casts original sculptures and employs practical film effects to construct a virtual world devoid of bodies but filled with the desire for touch in her highly sensualized aesthetic. A network of phantom limbs made from molds of the artist’s hands are linked together by metal chains, a mouth emerges from darkness oozing white foam; a phallus made of wax rotates in blinking neon and a plaster bust of the goddess Athena radiates pink light from her eyes: the imagery permeates a palpable, erotic terror.
Weitz discovered the writings of Carmen Hermosillo, also known by her avatar Humdog, researching cybernetic history and Internet subculture. As early as 1994, Hermosillo foresaw the perceptual dangers of virtual connectedness in her prophetic essay, “Pandora’s Vox: On Community in Cyberspace.” She was an early participant in The WELL, one of the original online forums and an electronic extension of the counterculture magazine Whole Earth Catalog. Within this purported cybernetic utopia, Hermosillo called out misogynist behavior and derided the commodification of selfhood. As a Cuban- American woman, she expressed an underrepresented point of view in a tech community largely dominated by white hetero-normative men. Ten years later, she joined the simulated world of Second Life, personifying multiple avatars, publishing editorials for the virtual newspaper Alphaville Herald and participating in BDSM role-play. The psychological impact of Hermosillo's online relationships tragically led her to delete her virtual accounts and take her own life in 2008.
Weitz adapts excerpts of Hermosillo’s text performed by artist Karen Krolak as vocal narration in the video, and has collaborated with hip-hop producer Saviour Adu to compose an original synth-based soundtrack. Along with her video, the exhibition features an original photograph and printed takeaway directing viewers to her
website www.humdog.me. Here readers can access a collection of Hermosillo’s writing including her seminal essay “Pandora’s Vox.”
Weitz intends to develop Humdog into an experimental narrative film that explores the complicated circumstances of virtual identity, digital communication and online subculture.