Continuity Drift, Curated by Kate Bowen
In the past four years, over thirty artists, curators, cultural producers, educators, and students have assembled digital exhibitions for the Cornerstone Gallery. The Cornerstone Gallery Project invites an open read of the collection, and as individuals curate unique projects, inevitably there is repetition in the selections made. As the technical manager of the Cornerstone Gallery I have the opportunity to see how popular images like Bernice Abbott’s Collision of Two Balls or Robert Mapplethorpe’s Self Portrait, #385 operate in exhibitions with themes as disparate as abstraction, the human body, and music. As another example, images from the Changing Chicago Project, which had a specific directive for what and how participating artists explored the city of Chicago, have been used to express both the politics likely intended by the authors and also challenge the politics of the moment in which they were made. Within the framework of digital exhibitions, images are used to express an idea as if they are bits of language to appear as parts of a sentence.
Their original meaning and context is not removed, but rather reexamined, reformulated, and expanded.
Continuity Drift is a term that describes what happens to an episodic narrative structure over time. As a story progresses connections are made that weren’t initially present, what was thought to be truth becomes a type of fiction. What was perceived as insignificant becomes important. With this in mind I considered a smaller set of images within the collection, focusing on those that had been chosen multiple times by different curators. Typically digital exhibitions are set to play in a continuous synchronized loop allowing the same images in the left and right window to always be seen together. With this selection the slideshows will fall out of sync slowly over the course of the exhibition allowing for these images to connect in new ways within this defined set. By repackaging these works once again, my exhibition embraces ways the meanings of photographs are always being negotiated. Part of that negotiation is the context that surrounds an image, and the endless number of connections that can be made when visual imagery is paired.