Down the rabbit hole by Alessia Belsito-Riera
What do The Simpsons memes, Brad Pitt’s abs, and kinky wizards have to do with art? Well, grab your knife and fork and fasten your bibs because Steamed Hams, on at The Dowse Art Museum until the 19th of November, is serving up a smorgasbord of encounters between contemporary art and internet culture.
“A key question that Steamed Hams asks is what it means to be an artist in the digital age,” curator Chelsea Nichols says. “The exhibition includes artists whose artwork went viral in unexpected ways, those who grapple with AI technologies, and those who draw on memes and internet humour to pose serious questions about contemporary culture and communication”. It also examines the role of artists in the digital age.
Featuring the work of Cecelia Condit, Beth Frey, Claire Harris, Tiyan Baker, Matthew Griffin, Xanthe Dobbie, Rohan Weallans, and Wuulhu, Steamed Hams offers insights into how our worldview is filtered through memes, fanfic, TikToks, viral videos, and more, likening them to the Dada absurdism movement.
“It’s about those little nuggets of pop culture that get embedded in the brain of the internet and become something much bigger – and arguably more meaningful – than the original”.
“Steamed Hams explores some of the real-world implications of internet humour, both good and bad,” Nichols continues, saying it invites visitors to look at the tools we use to navigate culture and fall down a rabbit hole to “hopefully emerge with some new perspectives on how internet culture shapes our worldview”.