The Sonya Rapoport Legacy Trust is pleased to announce that several drawings, publications, and video artworks from Sonya Rapoport’s computer-mediated “audience participation performance” Biorhythm series (1980-84) are being included in Refiguring the Future, an exhibition and conference presented by Eyebeam organized by REFRESH and produced in collaboration with Hunter College Art Galleries, New York.
Refiguring the Future
February 8—March 31, 2019
Opening Reception: Friday, February 8, 2019, 6–8pm
205 Hudson Gallery, Hunter College Art Galleries
New York, NY 10013
Curated by REFRESH collective members Heather Dewey-Hagborg and Dorothy R. Santos, the exhibition title is inspired by artist Morehshin Allahyari’s work defining a concept of “refiguring” as a feminist, de-colonial, and activist practice. Informed by the punk ethos of do-it-yourself (DIY), the 18 artists featured in Refiguring the Future deeply mine the historical and cultural roots of our time, pull apart the artifice of contemporary technology, and sift through the pieces to forge new visions of what could become.
The exhibition will present 11 new works alongside re-presented immersive works by feminist, queer, decolonial, anti-racist, and anti-ableist artists concerned with our technological and political moment.
Biorhythm (1981), Sonya Rapoport’s interactive, computer-mediated “participation performance” is a data-oriented yet playful exploration of the human body as computer.
In the late 1970’s there was a surge of popular interest in the body’s natural circadian rhythms. Using a commercial kit to predict her daily biorhythms, Rapoport recorded her physical, sensitivity, and cognitive cycles throughout the year 1980. Making use of an oversize calendar, she created each day a small collage with the ephemera of her everyday life and paper records of her art practice – a fascinating autobiographical portrait.
Refiguring the Future and Rapoport’s installation received a thoughtful write-up in The New York Times:
“Technology has turned many of us into robots of a sort: We check our email, scan our social media feeds, refresh and repeat. Thankfully, two unrelated but thematically similar group shows demonstrate more expansive possibilities for new media — and, by extension, for our society.
“Refiguring the Future” highlights art that is forward-looking but grounded in the issues and technologies of today. The pioneering artist Sonya Rapoport serves as an animating spirit. In her “Biorhythm” works (1980-84), Ms. Rapoport tested a pseudoscientific theory that claimed people’s behavior follows predictable cycles. She used a commercially available biorhythm kit for a year, while also making daily observations about herself. Resulting works on paper plot vast discrepancies between the two, a theme she continued to explore in participatory performances. Her work is a warning not to trust what technology is selling.”
Gardner, Jonathan. “New York Art Galleries: What to See Right Now.” New York Times 21 Mar. 2019. Web.