Mud Muses

A Rant About Technology

Taking its title from an installation by Robert Rauschenberg and an essay by science fiction writer Ursula K. Le Guin, the catalogue Mud Muses considers how the world over the last half century has been recreated in the image of technology.

How do we understand the relationship between life and technology in a time when they seem to be completely merged? Mud Muses presents 19 artists and artists groups who manipulate and play with (gender)codes, flip subjectivities, hook up with other intelligences and short circuit the promises of technology.

In the 1960s the aim was to integrate technology with everyday life: in 2019 that unification seems realised and complete. Perhaps it will be by travelling through history and the imagination that we can trace the differences between life, art, and technology?

In Robert Rauschenberg’s fifty-year-old artwork Mud Muse (1968–1971) sonic vibrations create random bubbles in a large, open, vat filled with synthetic sludge. Here our encounter with technology becomes both sticky and confusing. What a Mud Muse actually is remains uncertain, but the installation makes one thing clear: technology is a notion that creates time and space and thus influences our sense of reality.

Artists and artists groups featured include: Ian Cheng, CUSS Group, Cultural Capital Cooperative, Otolith Group, Robert Rauschenberg, and Suzanne Treister, among many others.

Published on the occasion of the exhibition, Mud Muses: A Rant About Technology at Moderna Museet, Stockholm (12 October 2019 – 12 January 2020).

Co-published with Moderna Museet.

English and Swedish text.

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