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The VCFA MFA in Graphic Design Program Blog

Anna Spool: AVATARS!

March 7, 2019

VCFA alumna Anna Spool will be showing their work at Nave Gallery in Somerville, MA as part of an exhibition entitled AVATARS. Part of a traveling exhibition from San Francisco, the show will feature artists thinking about avatars in the future and working in new media. The show will open April 2019, coinciding with Somerville Open Studios.

Created via the persona of A_Marcel, the work being displayed is an adaptation of their thesis, a performance piece and play called Hot Dogs 24/7, a tripartite world set within a hypercube, or a tesseract. Crafted from the recombinant DNA of an internet news cycle spun on overdrive, the video visually demonstrates performative design. Text, image, and performative bodies merge in a sci-fi retelling of Plato’s Allegory of the Cave to ask the question of what is real, what is fact, and what is fiction. Emerging from the Foucauldian concept of heterotopia, visual images reference hyperreal layered windows of contemporary memes, the simulation of the deep fake, surveillance, and the performer’s own mirrored duplicated body both in virtual and physical realms.

Curators Christina Balch, Giuliana Funkhouser, and Krista Wright describe the exhibition’s theme as such:
“Avatar” is originally a Sanskrit word describing mortal incarnations of Hindu deities. In colloquial use, the term refers to a digital image or 3D character representing an individual operating a computer. Drawing inspiration from this concept, the AVATARS exhibition is a transdisciplinary exploration of folkloric characters, alter-egos, and cyborgs created to express relatable narratives. Just as poets, game designers, and dream interpreters examine humanity through archetypes, artists employ personas. Figures are masked or transformed through symbol while ancient myths and fable-like stories are reinterpreted within these new tales spun.”