The Italian Navigator has Landed in the New World
New Work by Rhonda Holberton
Opening Reception:Saturday, November 15th, 7-10pm
Gallery Hours: Saturdays and Sundays, 1-4pm
(please note the gallery will be closed Thanksgiving weekend, November 29th and 30th)
About the Exhibition
Centered on her ongoing investigations into the politics of technology, Rhonda Holberton’s multimedia installation, The Italian Navigator has Landed in the New World, imagines the body as seen by the machine on the other side of the screen.
Utilizing the austere aesthetics of digital semantics found in image recognition algorithms, the work OPTICAL DESIGN FOR ZERO ORDER REDUCTION is a vinyl wallpaper comprised of over 300,000 points resembling a starry night. The pattern was developed by PrimeSense for Microsoft’s Kinect, a game console that uses the pattern of infrared dots in their package for position tracking and facial recognition. According to Microsoft documentation, the Kinect can identity your face and automatically log you in to your profile account.
The single channel video, The Italian Navigator has Landed in the New World, was also developed using the Kinect technology. To create the work, Holberton scanned her entire body to make a 3D model using a third party software that was then animated to move through a practice of yoga in the Vinyāsa style. These forms are replicated in Something of the Same Feeling to Everyone, a mannequin in a full body cast, along with They Stood, Sat, or Half Reclined in the Poses they Saw in the Pictures - a material with the dimensions of a yoga mat, simulating the texture, elasticity, and density of human skin.
The idea of simulating a live body through synthetic forms is further demonstrated in an accompanying photographic work L'Inconnue de la Seine, depicting a stack of silicon face shields molded for the face of the first CPR dummy, Resusci Anne. Because the mannequin has been in production and used in CPR training since 1958, the face is known as "the most kissed face" of all time. The face of Resusci Anne was modeled on L'Inconnue de la Seine (the unknown woman of the Seine), the death mask of an unidentified young woman reputedly drowned in the River Seine around the late 1880s.
Through sculptural and photographic representations of the debris left by the biological self, The Italian Navigator has Landed in the New World examines the extension of fragmented human forms that pivot around ideas of health and hygiene to mask a general anxiety towards the living body. The works bring together the physical and the virtual in order to reexamine, reimagine, and reconcile the mind and body through breathless movement.
About the Artist
Working in sculpture, installation and photography, Rhonda Holberton employs a hybrid of scientific and metaphysical practices to reveal a symbolic reading of empirical canons of belief. Rhonda has recently had solo exhibitions at MESA San Francisco and Aimee Friberg Exhibitions. Her work has been included in exhibitions at the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art and the San Francisco Arts Commission. In 2012 she received a Project Grant from the San Francisco Arts Commission and a SECA Grant Nomination. Holberton received her B.F.A. from the California College of Arts and Crafts, and her M.F.A from Stanford University.