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The four new artworks in Empty When Full, Shape Arts’ latest digital exhibition, dive into the blackholes of power and data created by our information age.

Empty When Full

Empty When Full is part of the Adam Reynolds Award programme and takes direct inspiration from Johanna Hedva’s artwork GLUT: a superabundance of nothing (created as part of their 2021 Adam Reynolds Award). ‘The universe doesn’t care about our feelings,’ the AI voice of GLUT proclaims to its user. What can the AI – divined by Hedva – know of human experience? Of the universe? GLUT asks us to consider the possibility that AI is but a twenty-first century iteration of a primordial impulse, a desire to find meaning and instruction from a consciousness greater than our own.

The black hole at the heart of GLUT creates a paradoxical space for exploration of not just what we are, but why. The borders that separate the human from the nonhuman, digital from analogue, the truth from a lie, are constantly in flux and seem always contradictory. ‘Post-truth,’ ‘false prophets,’ ‘living with Covid,’ are phrases and tropes that run through contemporary culture – descriptions of our times which are experienced most sharply from the margins, where our four artists reside.

Empty When Full can be thought of as an exhibition created along the event horizon of our information age. The four new works created by Jay Price, MH Sarkis, Li Yilei, and Keira Fox examine through images, objects, and stories the ways in which too much is never enough, whilst often what we need most is absent. The abundance of choice and acceleration of consumption create a multi-layered illusion constructed from packaging, marketing, and ever-shifting lines.

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Designed For A Digital Environment

Designed explicitly for a digital environment, the works in this exhibition continue not only Hedva’s odyssey to disrupt the knowledge we take for granted, but further an inquiry into the confines of ‘art’ that GLUT so powerfully strikes out for.

The exhibition will be available to experience for free, globally online via a bespoke website designed by Frontwards Design with artwork development support from Hotknife Digital Media.

Image shown (clockwise): Still from In Times Like These by Li Yilei, still from Agnoscia by Keira Fox, still from VAGUS by MH Sarkis, photo of Canaries by Jay Price, exhibition logo by Frontwards Design.

Elinor Hayes, Creative Producer, said: “The quest initiated by Hedva’s GLUT is not one intended to find answers but to ask questions and rattle cages. These questions pertain not just to the themes of abundance, illusion, and power that are oversaturating contemporary life, but also to the form and design of the creative ways in which we reflect on them.

Empty When Full is a powerful continuation of this unnerving, unsettling conversation. These four artists – so diverse in form and approach – have tapped into the uncanny and phantastical in such a way that the audience emerges tingling, with a ringing in the ear that’s both metaphorical and palpable.”

About The Artists

Jay Price

They/them – Work: Canaries

Jay Price is a London based artist, with a Masters from the Royal College of Art, and Bachelors degree from University for the Creative Arts. They have exhibited in the UK, USA, South America, and Asia. Price’s practice seeks out original insights into the audience and methods of production that address urgent challenges facing both artist and artworld, contributing to the evolution of the industry, and adding an alternate & controversial perspective to ongoing debates.

MH Sarkis

She/her – Work: VAGUS

Sarkis is a recent Goldsmiths MFA graduate and winner of the 2021 Almacantar Award. Recent shows include the London Grads Now show at the Saatchi Gallery. Through a blend of mediums including textiles, CGI, film, responsive robotics, and machine learning, MH Sarkis’s work explores relational dynamics, female experience and soft power within frameworks of potential posthumanisms and techno-protopias.

Keira Fox

She/her – Work: Agnoscia

Keira Fox is a London based artist whose practice includes performance, sound, installation, choreography curation and often works in collaboration with makers, musicians and friends. Her ongoing research is centred around sociopolitical struggle and its impact on the body, mind, vulnerable communities and how this manifests. Her most notable project being one part of the performance duo New Noveta who she has performed and exhibited with internationally since 2012.

Li Yilei

They/them – Work: In Times Like These

Li Yilei is an artist and composer known for their experimental music, live art, and sonically-inclined site-specific installations.

Li’s body of work and musical releases reflect their practice of alternative modes of listening and existence, as well as the interdisciplinary documentation of phenomena. Being on the autistic spectrum, Li’s sensory processing issues have significantly informed their creative process, and their work can be perceived as a product of this navigation.

About Shape Arts

Shape Arts is a disability-led organisation breaking barriers to creative excellence. We deliver a range of projects supporting marginalised artists, as well as training cultural venues to be more inclusive and accessible for disabled people as employees, artists and audiences. Running alongside this portfolio is the HLF funded National Disability Movement Archive and Collection (NDMAC), a radical telling of the story of the golden era of the Disability Rights Movement; and Unlimited, which, largely supported by Arts Council and British Council funding, provides a platform for disabled artists to develop, produce and show ambitious and high-quality work, and which aims to transform perceptions of how the work of disabled artists is received in the mainstream art world. 

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