Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art is proud to present Bit Rot by artist and novelist Douglas Coupland. Bit Rot is Coupland’s very first large-scale solo exhibition in Europe and will be on view from 11 September 2015 until 3 January 2016. The exhibition presents Coupland’s ‘mindscape’, combining his own work with loans from his personal collection, as well as material stemming from his recent residency at the Google Cultural Institute in Paris. An eponymous paperback collection of new and existing short stories and essays written and compiled by the artist will accompany the exhibition.
Throughout the exhibition Coupland shares his thoughts on globalization, terror, the Internet, pop-culture, social media and the resulting accelerated image economy. Taking its title from the phenomenon in which digital data spontaneously and quickly decomposes, Bit Rot creates an associative and visually playful constellation in which memory, loss, fame, violence, destruction, and creation are subjects for contemplation.
For many years Douglas Coupland has been intuitively collecting art works, images and objects, creating a collection perhaps only fully legible to himself. Each of the exhibited strands of work began as impulsive purchases but ultimately led to forms of clarity in regard to deeply rooted needs and wants. Now, for the first time, Coupland exhibits these collected works together with his own.
Following his residency at the Google Cultural Institute, Paris in early 2015, Coupland also presents The Living Internet, a kinetic room-sized sculptural tableau visualizing what the Internet and online searching actually looks like.
Important to the framework of the exhibition is a piece of writing included in the Bit Rot publication, titled An app called: Yoo. This fictional app, conceived by Coupland, creates new and unique visual material based on all of the (meta-)data individuals generate throughout their lives. If the Yoo app, in essence a mind-mapping tool, were to produce an exhibition, Bit Rot is what that might look like.
Yoo brings previously unobserved life patterns to the surface.
Yoo allows you to reinterpret any day of your life in an infinite number of ways.
Yoo finds connections in your life that you didn’t know were happening and makes them for you, before your eyes.
Yoo, poetically, allows you to reincarnate while still living.
Yoo takes images, sounds and text from the course of your day (or week or year) and weaves them together so that they morph, jump-cut and dissolve.
Every new technology allows us new opportunities to explore our humanity. That’s what Yoo is all about.
— Excerpts from An app called: Yoo, published in Bit Rot, Douglas Coupland, 2015
Published by Witte de With, Bit Rot is a paperback collection of short stories written for the exhibition, which functions as an accompanying work running parallel to the different clusters of art works in the exhibition. Emphasizing the importance of literature as an artistic medium, Coupland readdresses the issues at stake in the exhibition through the medium of writing. Bit Rot will be launched during the opening of the exhibition on 10 September 2015.
“My books have always, to some extent, contained ideas for installations and works […]. Pieces in the exhibition become materializations of words, and some of the words in this book are a dematerialization of objects in the exhibition.”
—Douglas Coupland, introduction to Bit Rot, 2015
The exhibition kicks off Futurosity, a project by Kunstblock that is part of Rotterdam celebrates the city! (check www.rotterdamcelebratesthecity.nl for the complete program) and is supported by The Art of Impact.
Bit Rot is supported by Intracorp, Vancouver and AMMODO, Amsterdam. The work The Living Internet is a Douglas Coupland initiative supported by the Google Cultural Institute.