Lady Ava Interface
April 10, 2018–
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Referencing Lady Ada Lovelace (1815–1852), known as the first computer programmer, Lady Ava Interface presents herself as an artificial intelligence assistant. At sunrise and sunset, she provides visitors to whitney.org with a menu of quirky, non-utilitarian calls to action and conjures a miniature Whitney from her smart phone. While software agents such as Siri, Alexa, and Cortana assist us with practical information to augment and increase our efficiency, Ava counteracts the generic and purely functional aspects of technology that we often use to begin and end our days. Ava's personage is inspired by the peculiar portraits of Italian Renaissance painter Giuseppe Arcimboldo who assembled images of fruits, vegetables, and fish into strange, yet still recognizable human likenesses. Artist Carla Gannis represents Ava as an assortment of 3D-modeled emojis, clouds, and cookies — symbols of Internet culture — to form a cartoonish female android. Lady Ava Interface continues Gannis’s explorations of historical paintings through the iconography of smartphones and the Internet, investigating the evolution of symbolic languages throughout art history.
About the Artist
Since her arrival in New York in the 1990s, Carla Gannis has been exploring the language of the digital medium in physical and virtual works. Gannis received an MFA in painting from Boston University and is faculty and assistant chair of the Department of Digital Arts at Pratt Institute, New York. She has engaged with the virtual domain by collaging threads of networked communication, online art history, and speculative fiction to produce dark and often humorous explorations of the human condition. Gannis’ work has appeared in numerous exhibitions and screenings, nationally and internationally. Solo exhibitions and screenings include Portraits in Landscape, Midnight Moment, Times Square Arts, NYC; Until the End of the World, DAM Gallery, Berlin; A Subject Self-Defined, TRANSFER Gallery, Brooklyn; and The Garden of Emoji Delights, Hudson River Museum, Yonkers. Gannis’s speculative fiction has appeared in DEVOURING THE GREEN:: fear of a human planet: a cyborg / eco poetry anthology, published by Jaded Ibis Press (2015).