Ricardo E. Zulueta Queer Algorithmic Memories v.2 2022 HD digital video animation4:11 minutes

DC Media

Ricardo E. Zulueta: Networked Gestures v. 2
April 14 - June 4, 2022

Opening reception: Thursday, April 14, 6 – 8 pm

 

Networked Gestures v. 2 envisions the radically liberating potentials of the networked setting. Ricardo E. Zulueta proposes the utopian impulse of digital technologies—aspirations of non-hierarchical, democratic, decentralized spaces of free expression—as liberating and hopeful frameworks towards queer futurity. Comprising a video and two paintings of technologized landscapes that extend the video’s field of view beyond the edge of the screen, Networked Gestures v. 2 subsumes the viewer within the experience of a technological future where inequality and systematic barriers—of race, socioeconomic status, sexuality, and more—are overcome.

 

In the introduction to his book Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity, José Esteban Muñoz writes:
Queerness is a structuring and educated mode of desiring that allows us to see and feel beyond the quagmire of the present… Some will say that all we have is the pleasures of this moment, but we must never settle… we must dream and enact new and better pleasures, other ways of being in the world, and ultimately new worlds… Queerness is that thing that lets us feel that this world is not enough, that indeed something is missing.

 

This ethos surrounding the potentialities of queerness is carried through Zulueta’s video and the immersing landscapes that surround the viewer in their experience of this work. In the video, 3D-modeled cyborgs—wearing gold tracksuits emblazoned with ₿, the Bitcoin symbol—enact postures evocative of runway models, strutting and marching together in solidary, quasi-military formation while carrying themselves in a manner that challenges normative masculinities. The settings they inhabit are broad, liminal spaces of harsh geometries, pure RGB hues, and raw textures interspersed with screens of binary code; these are the building blocks of digitality and raw elements of the networked setting’s generative potentials. The 3D figures are an army of avatars that together usher in a new digital age of possibility.

 

A diversity of male-presenting individuals–real footage of bodybuilders, fashion and swimsuit models, voguers, Wodaabe men participating in a beauty contest, and video documentation of LGBTQIA activism—are highlighted in vignettes that queer societal expectations of masculine posturing and display. Interlaced throughout the work, these scenes bring the aspirational narratives of the digital, computer-generated portions of the video into the lived, physical realm: while the utopian impulse might seem fraught and untethered from reality, these clips remind the viewer that there are pockets of the world living closer to the realization of a queer future.

 

Returning to Muñoz, queer futurity rejects the detached, cool nihilism of the present; it’s a framework that invites, challenges, and provokes individuals to “feel hope and to feel utopia,” to imagine the possibilities that can unfold into the future, and to “look beyond a narrow version of the here and now.” As a resistive strategy, queerness is an actionable, collective, and generative context that anticipates the betterment of society just over the horizon; Zulueta proposes the networked landscapes of the internet as the means and the settings for achieving these ambitions. Networked Gestures v. 2 posits that the present is a circumstance that can be circumvented through the queering lens of the digital.

 

 

Ricardo E. Zulueta lives and works in Miami, FL. He earned his Ph.D. in Cinema and Media Studies and his MFA in Visual Art and Experimental Performance/Media from the University of Miami. He also served as a Helbein Scholar at New York University in Visual Art and Museum Studies. Zulueta is a recipient of artist fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, Cintas Foundation, National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts (now known as Young Arts), and Art Matters Foundation. His works have been exhibited at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain; Western Front, Vancouver, Canada; Artists Space, New York; Museo Alejandro Otero, Caracas, Venezuela; El Museo del Barrio, New York; International Center for Photography, New York; Steirischer Herbst, Graz, Austria; Dazibao Contemporary Art Center, Montreal, Canada; Museum of Art and Design, Miami; Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York; Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum, Miami; Exit Art, New York; Houston Fotofest Biennial, Houston; White Columns, New York; Grey Art Gallery at New York University, New York, and many others.  He has completed public art projects for Miami-Dade Art in Public Places and the San Francisco Art Commission.

Ricardo E. Zulueta lives and works in Miami, FL. He earned his Ph.D. in Cinema and Media Studies and his MFA in Visual Art and Experimental Performance/Media from the University of Miami. He also served as a Helbein Scholar at New York University in Visual Art and Museum Studies. Zulueta is a recipient of artist fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, Cintas Foundation, National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts (now known as Young Arts), and Art Matters Foundation. His works have been exhibited at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain; Western Front, Vancouver, Canada; Artists Space, New York; Museo Alejandro Otero, Caracas, Venezuela; El Museo del Barrio, New York; International Center for Photography, New York; Steirischer Herbst, Graz, Austria; Dazibao Contemporary Art Center, Montreal, Canada; Museum of Art and Design, Miami; Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York; Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum, Miami; Exit Art, New York; Houston Fotofest Biennial, Houston; White Columns, New York; Grey Art Gallery at New York University, New York, and many others. He has completed public art projects for Miami-Dade Art in Public Places and the San Francisco Art Commission.