What is the material agency of digital decay and how is it revealed through curatorial practice?
The concept of decay has been commonly associated with still life in art practice. Since the 1980s, the presence of digital technology in art has grown and notions of matter, the medium and immateriality had to be reconsidered in order to address art practices that deal with new materials. Building on Jussi Parikka’s idea of ‘geology of media’ (2015), the PhD aims at reconsidering the concept of decay and its intrinsic nature of material process, following new parameters of matter and time brought into discussion by digital technology. Considering materiality as materials immersed in an unstable flow means to think of both software and hardware obsolescence as crucial elements in defining decay as a form of agency.
Using a post-medium and relational approach to curatorial practice, the research explores how new materials have informed our perception of decay through the dualism material/immaterial, an opposition common to most literature on the materiality of the digital. Considering digital materiality as not progress-oriented and exposed to decay implies thinking about materials as part of an ecology that belongs to inhuman scales of temporality. The aim of the exhibition is to present an innovative account of digital decay that builds on the limitations of digital technology, which is often presented by capitalist society as a positive and necessary element for progress.