Regulated Material

Regulated Material

Carlos Avendaño

Nadia Botello

Jeni Cheung

Ethan Kiene Cohen

Nicholas Kokkinis

Ryan Parker

July 16 - August 14, 2016

An artist uses their medium to explore or describe a concept, experience, or narrative. The medium or material is the framework in which the artist creates their practice.

The International Standards Organization (ISO) is a private non-governmental organization developing standard operations for world businesses. The ISO has a hand in determining how most material has been made or has traveled across borders internationally. Setting standards from shipping container sizes, screw thread widths, ISBN numbers to the parameters of a JPEG, the ISO controls many aspects of our daily life without our awareness.[1] This infrastructure has caused us to understand the world through a set of processed and standardized materials.

The ISO’s system of standardization has been put in place in order to benefit business. Before reaching the artist, the material used to produce their work has been regulated in order to facilitate consumption. Supplies in art stores and Home Depot comply with health and safety standards; computer file types have been regulated to easily move across a variety of software, nearly everything the artist touches have been processed in order for it to easily enter their hands. The artwork is entangled in the economic system in which it exists. Although these parameters developed by the ISO benefit business transaction do they benefit artistic practice? Can an artist understand material outside of the language of standards?

Regulated Material presents six artists who use their media to carefully examine how the viewer understands the material world. Presenting objects, images, and sound as devices to prompt the viewer to contemplate their physical and virtual environments, the work focuses on the means by which the viewer interprets meaning. A photograph of a photograph, an object emitting sound, a computer showing a .GIF file, the manner by which we view the work affects the way we interpret it. While standards do not necessarily play a direct role in any of the work in the show, each artist, through their medium, considers the result of a standardized world. 

“Societies have always been shaped more by the nature of the media by which men communicate than by the content of the communication.”[2]

[1] Keller Easterling, Extrastatecraft (New York: Verso, 2014), 171. 
[2] Marshall McLuhan, The Medium is the Massage (Berkeley: Gingko Press, Inc. 1996), 8.