Lily Benson

Digital Déjà Vu

Digital Déjà Vu

New Works by Kim Hoeckele and Lily Benson at Spectral Lines, curated by Elisabeth Smolarz

January 12th – April 13th, 2019

Spectral Lines announces its inaugural exhibition, Digital Déjà Vu, featuring new works by artists Kim Hoeckele and Lily Benson. Digital Déjà Vu brings together photography and film works that attempt to translatedifferent aspects of digital space into lived reality,  acknowledging  the meagerness in the tools available. Hoeckele and Benson employ semi-fictive spaces that map digital systems  onto human  networks and ideation, hinting at the information that is lost in visual compression. Investigating the transition from post-industrial to digital society Hoeckele and Benson illuminate changes and the lack thereof in the experience of subjectivity.

Kim Hoeckele presents a series of photographic still lives depicting aerial views of work tables filled with seemingly random objects. Upon deeper investigation, the images each appear to contain a loose visual logic. Each photograph uses a subjective visual approximation to compress images commonly experienced in an internet browsing stream into physical analogs. Hoeckele draws together objects from different timescales— personal, historical, geological, and technological—to create deliberate, personal, and absurd associations. Instead of consuming images that disappear one after another, the viewer must unpack the physical detritus of a search session within a single frame.

Lily Benson’s excerpt from the forth-coming film FANTASY.JPEG is a loose speculative fiction that brings together every female-identified filmmaker to whom Benson is personally acquainted in an odyssey of digital liberation. We follow the protagonists in their infiltration of the Joint Photographic Experts Group—the actual words that form the acronym JPEG—an elite organization who holds power over how we see digital images. Appropriating the costumes and drama of action film sequences, Benson trades out weapons for cameras in this  absurdist story of digital power, file repression, and gender equity. FANTASY.JPEG is a fiction with real life implications, as the production of the film has strengthened the actual community of filmmakers who make up Benson’s paramilitary group. JPEG and MPEG become gendered designations, using the reduction of file compression to comment on the exclusionary practices of the film making industry.The film advocates for fantasy as a revolutionary tool, drawing a parallel between imagination and imaging systems, suggesting that imagining beyond the bounds of a current system can in fact produce change.