File Type

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HUMAN/COMPUTER sez STEAL_ART, 2010 © Courtesy of the artist and Gallery 400
File Type

UIC College of Architecture and Art
400 S. Peoria Street (Art and Design Hall, First Floor)
Chicago, IL 60607
June 17th, 2011 - July 30th, 2011
Opening: June 17th, 2011 5:00 PM - 8:00 PM

West Loop/West Town
Tues-Fri 10-6; Sat 12-6; by appointment


The specificity of work in electronic media warrants investigations that refine categories past “the digital” or “the internet.” File Type is an exhibition which analyzes the cultural character of digital file formats such as the .pdf, .tiff, .jpeg etc. These and many other file types contain narratives that give specific bodies to the often invisible entities that construct electronic culture. Formats and file types represent ways that artwork in digital or internet media create particular standards of representation. What is often regarded as the minutiae of computer science have now become the parameters given to cultural agents. Or to put it in different terms, computer science is now a direct player in the construction of cultural identity, intentionally or not.

File Type explores the kinetic relationships that construct a network of electronic exchange. How have file types worked their way into, or in many cases have become, our cultural metaphors? What are the politics of implied aesthetics hidden within file formats that are regarded as transparent? What are the effects of expediency in using different formats in communication and exchange? Or perhaps most importantly what is the relationship between electronic formats and artistic practices, electronic or otherwise? Are these adjuncts and extensions of artistic practice necessarily a breakage from non-electronic media, or are they possibly fluid and interchangeable?