September 21, 2019-February 16, 2020

“You cannot define electricity. The same can be said of art. It is a kind of inner current in a human being, or something which needs no definition.” —Marcel Duchamp

What happens to art in an age where technology is outpacing our humanity? Technological breakthroughs are happening at an ever-increasing rate. New ways to communicate thoughts and ideas abound. We can reach out, connect and pass along information faster than was ever thought possible. But often, these pathways encourage anonymity and open opportunities for snark, sarcasm, threats and judgement. We lose a bit of our goodwill, and our generosity. We become less than what we were.

As new generations of artists engage with technology as part of their practice, other possibilities are revealed. There is a compulsion to use the electric pulse to connect with the neurological one. The artists in Charged have gone beyond using technology as an intellectual or aesthetic curiosity. Rather, they are exploring new means of finding our own humanity. They include, Alan Rath, Stacey Steers, Pors and Rao, Ross Birrell and David Harding, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, and Memo Akten. Through sound, image, and interaction, these artists compel their viewer to reach inwards towards an emotional core to find compassion and connection. The process begins with plugging the work into the power grid. From there, art emerges as activism, as conduit for dialogue, as new paths to introspection, as opportunity to redefine what it means to be human.


Memo Akten, Ross Birrell and David Harding, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Pors and Rao, Alan Rath, and Stacey Steers

Charged is organized by the Virginia MOCA and curated by Heather Hakimzadeh, Curator.


Charged at Virginia MOCA