Manolis D. Lemos, dusk and dawn look just the same (riot tourism), 2017, still from the three-minute color video component of a mixed-media installation. From the 2018 Triennial: “Songs for Sabotage.”

New York

2018 Triennial: “Songs for Sabotage”

New Museum
235 Bowery
February 13–May 27

Curated by Gary Carrion-Murayari and Alex Gartenfeld

Three long years ago, under Obama’s presidency and a seemingly boundless neoliberal horizon, the last triennial investigated “new visual metaphors for the self” in an expanding digital surround. Today, as institutions falter and certitudes crumble, the Janus-faced character of technology reveals itself. While enabling new modes of identity construction and self-broadcast, it is also accessory to the rise of demagogues and the impoverishment of discourse, yielding social anomie and networks of fascism. Whereas 2015’s triennial examined an increasingly seamless interface between human and machine, the 2018 iteration—as its exuberantly Luddite title suggests—proposes smashing the machine altogether. How might art address an etiolated civil society, emboldened racism, hyperfinancialization, and precarity? “Songs for Sabotage” will bring together approximately thirty emerging international artists—all born after 1981—whose work appropriates and interrogates the “machines, roads, and digital systems” of a “system that seems doomed to failure.” But will the master’s tools, as Audre Lorde famously cautioned, ever dismantle the master’s house? Watch this space.