For the exhibition Day Off, Jillian Mayer brings digital mediations into the political landscape of representation. Florian Cramer has proposed the post-digital turn in which fascination with the Internet has become historical, and culture emerges from dynamic assemblages of objects, processes, scales, sites, and experiences both actual and virtual. The artist’s slumpies series of ergonomic sculptures are designed for this contemporary moment in which physical posture, and thereby social engagement, are ontologically inseparable from increased technology use. The body online is both spatially-temporally situated and globally networked. Slumpies provides structures upon which participants may lounge to facilitate public use of smart phones, addressing what Mayer identifies as the “post-posture problem.” Through their interaction, the user becomes an integral material component of the sculpture while also engaging cultural production. Lifestyle and aesthetics merge in what Lisa Parks might term infrastructure re-socialization, or the project of urging publics to notice, document, and ask questions about the mediated environments that shape culture.
In Mayer’s headset video series, based upon virtual reality experiences, the artist also renders visible the infrastructures that contextualize body-world reciprocity. The video DAY OFF depicts players clad in clumsy headsets and encumbered by cables immersed in a video cam. The players are unmoved by the gallery viewer, but the gallery viewer is acutely aware of the players’ mediation, foregoing the myth of virtual transcendence and recognizing techno-social assemblages. The video series’ photographic works also serve to comparatively intensify the reality of the gallery viewer. DAY OFF depicts a woman reclining between a trashcan and an electrical post, her limbs emerging at alarming angles from her sleeveless dress. The vulnerability of bodies in virtual space and the physical atrophy of bodies using technological devices reveal that culture must account for the materiality of its digital production.