In an age dominated by digital technology, The Body Electric explores themes of the real and virtual, the organic and artificial, moving from the world into the screen and back again. Today, computer and phone screens are fast becoming the primary places of encountering new information, effectively blurring the boundary between three-dimensional space and the two-dimensional image. The Body Electric draws from the Walker’s performing arts history and collections, including the Ruben/Bentson Moving Image Collection and the Archives & Library, to present work by an international group of artists who question how photographic, televisual, and digital media change our perceptions of the human body and everyday life.
With works ranging from the 1960s to today, The Body Electric brings together artists including Eleanor Antin, Trisha Baga, Nam June Paik, and Keith Sonnier, who work in an expanded mode across performance, sculpture, and the moving image, conflating the physical world and its life on screen. For many artists, such as Howardena Pindell and Lynn Hershman Leeson, the lens of the camera creates a space to rethink how sociopolitical identities are represented and to question the structures that govern our understanding of race, gender, and sexuality. For others, such as Peter Campus, Pierre Huyghe, and Bruce Nauman, new technologies offer the opportunity to consider the malleable, fragmented, and impossible body.
Charting the embrace and manipulation of technology across varying generations, The Body Electric examines how the screen has increasingly shifted the way we picture ourselves and understand our place in the world.