ALTEREDSTATES/ ALTEREDSCAPES will be shown at the University of New Mexico School of Architecture Gallery and at Kenji Kondo studios simultaneously – one is an interior display of the work, the other is on an exterior public building. The exhibition opens Sept 14th, 2018 and will be on display until Oct 11th, 2018.
Images on Instagram are rapidly consumed by the platform’s users. Artists and other cultural
producers feel constant pressure to produce a daily curated feed of powerful images; it is a place of
extreme visibility where creativity is temporary and easily dismissed yet highly desired. An image
that gets thousands of “likes” one day is old news in 24 hours or less. The temporary validation
social media provides is addictive.
alteredstates/alteredscapes is a three-pronged, collaborative photography project from Natalie
Christensen and Jim Eyre that positions Albuquerque as the physical location from which to engage
a global audience, using Instagram to explore and distribute the project’s ideas. It is comprised of
three parts: gallery exhibition, site-specific exterior wheat paste mural, and digital display via a
website and public Instagram feed. Referencing a 1980’s horror film in which the main character
gets lost in visual dreamscapes via sensory deprivation experiments, alteredstates/alteredscapes
aims to make public and visible the psychological impact of sharing and viewing art on social media.
Christensen and Eyre met over Instagram and initiated a collaboration based on their shared
ambivalence of using the social media platform. alteredstates/alteredscapes was born from the
artists’ main question: Is the unrelenting momentum of the virtual space stifling their creativity or,
conversely, are they becoming better artists by the pressure to produce and compete for recognition
on the digital stage?
The project is comprised of composite photography of New Mexico and London. To create the final
photographs, the artists began passing their respective images—shots of their urban surroundings—
back and forth via Instagram direct message. At each turn, the artists digitally cropped, collaged, or
otherwise altered the images, shaping them by trial and error, layer upon layer. As a result, the
images contain familiar tropes yet are oddly disorienting—architectural fragments and street
elements meld together to present multiple points of view and subtle combinations of perspectives
on a single visual plane, representing a malleable psychological experience. The artists willingly
created these artworks through a laborious process, knowing that those who view them will do so in
a split second and dispose of them with a flick of their thumb.
alteredstates/alteredscapes will materialize in the University of New Mexico School of Architecture
Gallery as an exhibition of large-scale photographs installed to mimic the psychological experience
of getting lost in the architecture of Instagram; projected GIFs of the composite images and a
streaming video of the DM (direct message) conversation between the artists will also be on view.
Concurrently, blue-backed advertising posters, a medium purposely chosen for its lack of
permanency and disposable nature, will be installed as a wheat paste mural on the exterior of a
building at 7th and Central Ave in downtown Albuquerque. When the exhibition closes, the posters
will be torn from the walls and offered to local artists for reuse or composted. Additionally, the public
exhibition/mural viewers will be invited to access the alteredstates/alteredscapes website to make
their own composite images and upload to Instagram.