The Model Citizen

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The key concepts behind The Model Citizen were hatched by Jondi Keane, artist and associate professor of art and performance at Deakin University, during a workshop over a year and a half ago. He proposed a project that combined art intervention with political discussion. The idea was picked up by his colleague Sean Redmond, who then enlisted Darrin Verhagen, whom he had worked with on another curatorial project. The Model Citizen is interested in the ways in which art responds to contemporary, that is, worrying, forms of citizenship. In modelling future projections, eleven artists have addressed themes such as the tyranny of biopolitical surveillance, celebrity and the posthuman. Larissa Hjorth has created a work using data algorithms to discuss the idea of the ‘future’ citizen. Redmond explains, “She has modelled a Caribbean island in which participants will be able to sit and imagine their future selves.”

Along with curating, Redmond has contributed a model replica of a celebrity fan’s bedroom to the exhibition. The work looks at the ubiquity of celebrity culture, “the sheen, the veneer” and distraction provides.

Adam Nash, John McCormick and Asim Bhatti have created a complex work that questions the ethics of artificial intelligence – Stephen Hawking warned of its perils. A robot will be infected with a coded virus that will produce an algorithm, this in turn will produce a piece of music. Humanity seems hell-bent on orchestrating its own demise – the articulation of angst is palpable in the works. Redmond however, isn’t without hope. He points to Polly Stanton’s work which discusses the ethical life of the environment: “She’s done a beautiful piece around the Anthropocene where she’s gone into the woods and recorded sound and images.”

The Model Citizen
RMIT Gallery
8 February – 23 March

Varia Karipoff