Hive Mind is an exhibition examining what it means to be human in contemporary society. By employing various aspects of technology, including collected SIM cards, artist Renée Rilexie invites the viewer to question their relationship to the digital. Composed of a series of mannequin heads – each carefully pierced with over 100,000 metal pins, or adorned with various components, including an assortment of necklace chains – the exhibition encourages the viewer to question the impact of digital technology on our daily lives.
The digital is becoming an increasingly prevalent theme within contemporary art, with many artists not only exploring the acceleration and integration of technology, but in fact employing digital methods as a medium and tool of artmaking. In the age of social networks and constant information downloads, it can be challenging to remove oneself from the pool of communication. As labour becomes increasingly immaterial, it is impossible not to operate through email exchange and messenger sequences. Yet within the exhibition and by revealing the interior of one head where all the pin heads appear visible, Rilexie questions the boundary between humanity and technology. How far has the internet seeped into our life rhythms and to what extent would we have to go to avoid this? The SIM cards embedded within the heads are a sinister reminder that our phones are at times practically attached like limbs.
A meditative and time-consuming process, the labour-intensive approach of piercing the heads with individual pins reminds viewers how important it is to take a step back; to remove oneself from screens, keyboards, wires and headphones. Alongside the mannequin sculptures hang studio photographs depicting the heads against a black backdrop. By capturing a single head within the photograph, the sculptures transform into museum-like objects, catalogued and documented. This relationship between the two-dimensional and three-dimensional again brings into question the relationships technology inhabits; how much of our lives is dominated by screen-based as opposed to personal communication? Despite the extensive level of utility, are screens are own worst enemies?