Dates2020 - Ongoing
- Location United States
‘American Glitch’ (2020 - ongoing) is a look at the slip between fact and fiction and how this shows up in the U.S. landscape. In an era defined by screens, fake news, conspiracy theories, virtual reality, the advent of the Metaverse, and virtual existence, the notion that we are existing within a simulation has become increasingly popular. In the midst of the pandemic, the CIA released a report that acknowledged that they have been looking into this possibility for some time. This notion that we are living in a simulation, or a glitch, shows up in the deep crevices of the web, where images are posted to offer personal evidence that a ‘glitch in real life’ has been seen. Much of this digital vernacular builds on the ideas explored in ‘The Matrix’ blockbuster movie series, Alice in Wonderland, and The Truman Show. It is a vernacular that builds on a generation’s experience where the digital world--through reddit, social media, television, and video games-- and reality are seemingly becoming one.
The artist duo Andrea Orejarena & Caleb Stein spent a year and a half researching locations throughout the U.S. that fit into the framework of a glitch, drawing from large comment threads and testimonial in the deep crevices of the internet. They travelled the highways and byways of the U.S. on Google Earth, confirming the existence of these locations at the height of the pandemic when travel was not possible. They are viewing the internet as a mirror to our collective subconscious and taking the pulse of parafiction and its relationship to the United States. This work will be presented alongside the following sentences: “One of these images has been manipulated.The artists will not say which one."
Orejarena & Stein are from Colombia and the U.K respectively, however they have lived in the U.S for large portions of their lives and they are interested in using the concept of a “glitch” in American society to explore the mythologies they both used to assimilate to their adopted home.
The duo feels that much of the tradition of American road trip photography is dependent on a tradition of examining the visually uncanny - the surreal - but in a moment where there is an increasingly deep distrust of what is real and what isn’t, the more explicit framework of viewing this country as a simulation on the verge of collapse struck them as a powerful organizing structure for this personal odyssey, which looks not only at their relationship to the U.S., but also at the notion of a collective subconsciousness and its relationship to ‘post-truth’ era theories and ways of seeing.
In an effort to dig right into the heart of these areas of interest, the duo have focused a significant percentage of their efforts on military spaces which have a large mark on the U.S socio-political and physical landscape.
Orejarena & Stein plan to spend most of 2022 on the road, developing this new body of work. The work will ultimately include a series of large format photographic prints, small scale found images, and a three-channel video component, which is still in development.
-For further context, Orejarena & Stein's last body of work, 'Long Time No See' also explores these concerns of the U.S.'s mythologies and constructed narratives through a collaborative, multi-media look at the memory and legacy of the Vietnam-U.S. War (forthcoming publication scheduled for 2022 with Jiazazhi Press, with texts by Forensic Architecture and Đỗ Tường Linh, designed in collaboration with Brian Paul Lamotte).