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Art & Art History

File Type

Friday, June 17, 2011–Saturday, July 30, 2011
Gallery 400
400 South Peoria Street, Chicago, IL 60607

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Mike Andrews, Jon Cates, Channel TWo, Anthony Discenza, Constant Dullaart, Eric Fleischauer, Patrick Lichty, Ei Jane Janet Lin and Miao Jiaxin, Kristin Lucas, Todd Mattei, Jesse McLean, Chris Meerdo, Casey Reas, Steve Ruiz, and Siebren Versteeg.

The specificity of work in electronic media warrants investigations that refine categories past “the digital” or “the internet.” File Type is an exhibition that analyzes the cultural character of digital file formats such as the .pdf, .tiff, .jpeg, etc. These and many other file types contain narratives that give specific bodies to the often invisible entities that construct electronic culture. Formats and file types represent ways that artworks in digital or internet media create particular standards of representation. What is often regarded as the minutiae of computer science have now become the parameters given to cultural agents. Or, to put it in different terms, computer science is now a direct player in the construction of cultural identity, intentionally or not.

File Type explores the kinetic relationships that construct a network of electronic exchange. How have file types worked their way into, or in many cases, have become, our cultural metaphors? What are the politics of implied aesthetics hidden within file formats that are regarded as transparent? What are the effects of expediency in using different formats in communication and exchange? Or perhaps, most importantly, what is the relationship between electronic formats and artistic practices, electronic or otherwise? Are these adjuncts and extensions of artistic practice necessarily a breakage from non-electronic media, or are they possibly fluid and interchangeable?