Whether you’re a digital artist or not, internet culture shapes everything we do: we think in Tweets, see in Instagrams, and try to scroll on analog devices.
NewHive Curator Lindsay Howard explores how the internet is shaping artistic practices and culture, spotlighting the work of artists who transform the effects of internet culture into multimedia experiences on the web. The online publishing platform provides the blank space for them to do so, along with custom tools and a code editor, which supports HTML, CSS, JS, Processing, and three.js. Designed with creators in mind, NewHive prioritizes the “desktop experience” and always ensures “that creators own all the rights to their work.” Featuring the work of emerging and established creators, NewHive and Howard are commissioning projects ranging from zines to curated exhibitions online.
My Afterlife Is So Boring II, by Tara Sinn with music by Blues Control, is their newest commission, which launched on January 22. Sinn, who works in video, installation, and digital media, folds these practices into an immersive suite of six pieces that LOL at life online and its adverse effects.
In the press release for the commission, NewHive writes:
“In Sinn’s Afterlife, the artist meditates on Penrose stairs, the effects of overexposure to LED screens (monitor glow), ellipses, dead pixels, 404 errors, Bowser in the sky (the final level in Super Mario 64 where Mario has to climb an endless staircase), Shepard Tone, and Congratulations you've reached the end of the internet. With its ghosts (programmer shorthand for objects loaded in a partial state) and online memorials, the collection calls into question whether the Internet is forever, the notion of a digital afterlife, as well as the impact of Internet life with its screen fatigue and repetition on IRL reality.”
Sinn translates the dark side of living in front of screens into sparkly, bright animated looping environments, a dichotomy that makes the work that much more hilarious.
While Howard’s own curatorial practice interrogates internet culture, works like Sinn’s illuminate the shift from browser-based work to platform-based practices. NewHive falls somewhere in between these two user experiences, and so does Sinn’s work, as she brings together aesthetics from around the web with more contemporary platform-based accessibility.
Howard has been following Sinn’s work for nearly five years. Speaking with Howard about the work, she describes her thought process behind the commission:
“I first discovered Tara Sinn's work in a group exhibition at Spencer Brownstone Gallery in 2009, when she was showing Kaleidoscopes alongside works by Cory Arcangel, Petra Cortright, Guthrie Lonergan, Rafaël Rozendaal, and Harm van den Dorpel. I loved her sense of humor and bright, colorful graphics paired with darker imagery – the dancing dildos made me LOL. Since then, I've watched her work spread across the Internet, and frequently returned to her website to catch new releases. It's in this spirit that I'm thrilled to introduce her latest commission, My Afterlife Is So Boring II, which reflects on the Internet as a kind of afterlife, where we drift from one distraction to another, through an endless, infinite scroll.”