PROJECTS

Tue, Feb 22

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Xposed on the Highline

Will Wharton / Digital Organisms and Relics

A surreal collection of digital organisms and relics that explore the bygone tradition of cabinets of curiosities.

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Will Wharton / Digital Organisms and Relics

Time & Location

Feb 22, 4:30 PM EST – Mar 01, 7:00 PM EST

Xposed on the Highline, Highline Park @ 19th street

About The Event

About the works:

Recently, Wharton has been exploring collector culture and the traditions of Wunderkammer or “Cabinets of Curiosities”. These collections sometimes contained strange and mysterious artifacts in addition to natural, historical and religious relics. Dating back to the 1500s, these spaces created a microcosm of the world we live in. This tradition has problematic roots in imperialism and was often used to showcase status or worldly prestige. However, they represent a time in which we didn’t so harshly differentiate between art and science. There is a monolithic power to them and, in fact, they were precursors to modern day museums.

There is a clear connection between this old tradition and modern-day NFT collections. This series explores that relationship, imagining what types of artifacts, old film reels and organisms might be stored in these metaverse cabinets of curiosities. These digital organisms attempt to emulate how special conditions, like the creation of the blockchain/metaverse, can give rise to many rich, new and strange customs, communities, cycles and emergent cultures.

About Will

Born in St. Paul Minnesota, Will Wharton (Good Boy William) is a new media artist living in Los Angeles. Receiving his B.A. in Design | Media Arts at UCLA, he has exhibited his pieces at The UCLA Broad Art Center, The New Wright Gallery, Pauley Pavilion, and various dingy warehouses throughout Los Angeles.

Work

Much of Will's work is inspired by the natural world and the strange and funny creatures that we share our planet with. Many of these pieces explore surreal digital ecosystems. As the world goes more and more digital, Will is curious what our conceptions of the natural world will look like in these spaces. How will these organisms look and function? What do their life cycles look like? And most importantly, what can these explorations teach us about our relationship to the natural world we inhabit?

Will's process

Wharton uses a variety of different mediums from projected video and 3D-printed sculpture to virtual reality spaces and performed audio visual works. His goal is to set an example of exploring new technology to unlock its artistic potential. Wharton seeks to pose interesting questions, create new worlds and explore our humanity.