The context cannot be ignored. In a radically altered reality, amidst the global transition towards existing ever more virtually and online, the 2020 UCLA DMA MFA cohort presents their thesis exhibition, NEARREST NEIGHBOR. The title refers at once to proximity, to the very recent and pronounced permutations of closeness, as well as its various applications as an algorithm (nearest neighbor search). Works ranging from sculpture, projections, to immersive installations, incorporating various digital and mechanical techniques, have been re-imagined for an online exhibition opening on May 29th.
With shifting sociality as a through line, Zeynep Abes, Graham Akins, Berfin Ataman, Erin Cooney, Clara Leivas, Ben Lerchin, Blaine O’Neill, Miles Peyton, Hirad Sab, Dalena Tran, and Leming Zhong present work that, when taken together, draws from increasingly more apparent tensions between embodied and mediated experience, synthetic personhood and its affect, digital and physical space, the animate and the non-animate. The exhibition negotiates movement through landscapes and networks, as human, non-human, and the in-between. Recognition of nearness, the gravity of our intimacies, calculates proximity and distance in computation, as much as within a cohort, a socially distant society, an exhibition.