Mark Leckey, UniAddDumThs, 2014-15
by Elena Filipovic
from THE ARTIST AS CURATOR #8 – in Mousse #49
The spectacular rise of the Internet and contemporary technological advances, from bionics to cybernetics, has created a world that is changing rapidly regarding new materials, and also generating an entirely new sense of materialism. All of this constitutes the backdrop to Leckey’s post-digital, late-capitalist exhibition. Call it a bachelor-machine-as-exhibition . Things (real and their avatars) and a long- ing to touch and possess them—indeed, to find some sort of intimacy with them (as the artist himself would be the first to tell you)—are the gas that fuels this machine. So, too, is a certain promiscuous relationship to originality and an endless desire, as it were, to reproduce. And indeed, from The Universal Addressability of Dumb Things emerged the actual subject of this essay: the ambiguous, unpronounceable thing that is UniAddDumThs (2014–15). Somewhere between an artist-curated exhibition and an eerie, substitute, life-size copy of an artist-curated exhibition, not to mention paradoxically an artwork in itself, UniAddDumThs is ontologically unstable to the extreme. Titled to acknowledge both its filiation with The Universal Addressability of Dumb Things and the digital world that made it possible (“UniAddDumThs” reads as a sort of file-name-extension version of the original title, like “jpeg” or “mp3,” or even the abbreviated speech of the digital world, with its LOLs and WTFs), it even more profoundly and certainly more troublingly tackles the questions of the real and its simulacrum at the heart of the “original” from which it sprang.