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The eleven works featured in CONTEXT COLLAPSE undertake a conversation around the shifting nature of context in contemporary life and art.

The present is haunted by the permanence of data. To speak in the moment is to know that that moment may live forever. Our words may be willfully misinterpreted, or perhaps be the spark that ignites a movement. Context is liable to change at any moment, regardless of original intent. We retreat to distrust, to inside jokes and opaque language. Groups defined by affinity give way to movements of dissent.

The term "context collapse" has been attributed to the research of danah boyd, and her observations about what happens when individuals from disparate social environments find themselves interacting in an altogether new context. While it was coined in reference to the amalgamating tendencies of online platforms, context collapse occurs whenever differentiation breaks down.

Origins are obscured and the vertical nature of hierarchies become reoriented into a chaotic flatland of asymmetrical symbols. A 3D Scan of a temple is uploaded by an artist and used by an ad agency. A meme associated with the alt-right in the US becomes an icon of resistance in Hong Kong. Border crises encroach on the stability of imagined geographies.

If language structures the space of locality, what happens in the gaps between global vernaculars? If one’s audience is unknown, how does one have agency over what is determined?

Zeynep is a new media artist from Istanbul Turkey. She received her bachelor's degree in documentary and interactive media from Emerson College and is currently an MFA candidate at UCLA's Design Media Arts program. Growing up in the politically charged city of Istanbul, Zeynep's work usually revolves around her culture, combining interactivity with video. She got her start at LACMA’s Art+Tech lab creating AR installations, then worked at the Sundance Film Festival's New Frontier Exhibitions and is currently a curator for VRScout.
Graham Akins studio practice revolves around our complicated relationship to reality, simulation, and how technology mediates the depiction of the external world. Using photography, video, 3D modeling and sculpture, the artist creates large multi-media installations that play with notions of objecthood, the uncanny valley, our understanding of otherness and contemporary methods of image making. Recent projects include investigations into the aestheticization of trash, experimental wildlife documentaries that explore the quality of our relationships to other minds, and found object sculptural video combines that abstract materials into simulated forgeries of themselves.

Berfin Ataman was born in Izmir, Turkey. She went on to get her BFA in Theatre design from University of Southern California and her Post – Baccalaureate degree from School of art Institute Chicago and is currently getting her MFA in UCLA. She is an artist that creates sensorial experiences. Her work focuses on humans relationship to movement and space through her wearables, installations, and other soft, kinetic, sculptures. Her most recent work questions how we approach the non- human or rather the unfamiliar.

Erin Cooney is an American visual artist based in Los Angeles. She uses video, installation, and performance to create works dealing with point of view, post-humanism, and ecology. Erin Cooney’s work has been profiled on NPR’s All Things Considered and CNN. Born in Houston, Texas, Erin Cooney received a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. She studied Graphic Design at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, and is currently pursuing her MFA at UCLA.

Ben Lerchin is an artist, activist, and technologist using experimental photographies, robotics, and language to enact speculative interventions and uncover new political imaginaries. In their work, digital conversations are recontextualized, landscapes are reconfigured, algorithms are queered, and all are presented as embodied data.
Ben collaborates widely with artists, designers and engineers, and is currently an MFA candidate at UCLA Design Media Arts. Their work has appeared at: Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco), B4BEL4B (Oakland), Desert X (Palm Springs, CA), Centro Cultural de España (Mexico City), and QueerTech.io (Melbourne, Australia).

I create interactive physical experiences. I received my Bachelor degree in Interaction Design in 2012 at Malmö University Sweden. The following couple of years I worked on educational projects for Arduino teaching workshops at universities, high schools and hackerspaces. I moved on as a creative technologist working with experiential marketing agencies in the US for clients such as Google, Nike and Adidas. I’m currently an MFA candidate at UCLA Design | Media Arts.

Blaine O’Neill is an artist, designer, and organizer based in Los Angeles. Blaine makes images and situations that explore improvisation, automation, affect, and failure. Blaine pursues non-dogmatic and non-productive approaches to working and identifying.


Miles Peyton is an artist based in Los Angeles. His recent work draws from video games and sculpture and centers on non-human subjects at all scales.
Hirad Sab is a planetary-based media artist and visual director whose work explores the margins of digital aesthetics, internet culture, and technology. His amalgams occupy a precarious intersection of culture and the democratic nature of image circulation; an aesthetic trend that expands and mutates rapidly. Sab's work has been described as a "simultaneously distant and close, drawing the viewer in even as it challenges them to look away" and heavily feature depictions of posthumanist form, figure, and consumption in distinctly digital environments. The result is in an emblematic and distinguishable oeuvre that resists easy classification.

Dalena Tran writes stories and poetry and adapts them into virtual spaces. Her practice investigates nostalgic and emerging symbols of storytelling by combining language, technology, and mixed media arts. Her connection (/lack thereof) to places and networks shape the momentum of her work. She is often questioning the phenomenon of memory in it's relationship to setting. Using the palpability of digital language, she wanders between comprehension, the gift shop, and an exit wound. Her works have been featured on FLAT Journal, Adult Swim, OFluxo, and Nowness.

Leming Chon is an artist. She explores visceral experience in nature and society through fracturing commentary and interrelated structures. Her works invalidate adhering rules of social events, where the extant fragments present an opacity and suspense perception, and rearrange these correlative objects into illusory duplicates with itself.

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