Offering fertile ground for speculation, experimentation, and failure, Atlanta Contemporary’s Project Spaces are a departure from the traditional white cube. Virtual Remains bridges marginal and unconventional spaces to examine how contemporary artists are experimenting with technology to contend with flawed and fragmented archives. Danielle Deadwyler, Shane Dedman, Adam Forrester, and Artemus Jenkins are Atlanta-based artists who embrace the flaws and gather the fragments to create works of art that tell personal and communal histories in innovative and intuitive ways. Each artist tends to their own interdisciplinary repositories of ephemera — documents, film, and audio— that they then redact, manipulate, and fabricate to uncover the truths that lack material evidence.
Deadwyler offers a multimedia installation that incorporates performance, video, and sculpture to intervene on the histories of the Atlanta railway corridor by unearthing the thoughts, feelings, and experiences of the Black laborers who worked to construct it. Dedman debuts a trilogy of experimental films that contemplate loss of one’s personal archive as a rite of passage or as tragedy. Forrester’s installation involves a documentary film and a collage of archival and fabricated documents that blur the boundaries between truth and lies. Jenkins presents a series of videos that rely on his process and experience as a filmmaker to speculate on the future of memorialization when the most critical remains are digital.
The works presented in Virtual Remains are malleable and evolving accumulations of the artists’ continuous labor, introspection, research, and engagement with their communities. Exacerbating the tensions between memory and history, truth and myth, the exhibition privileges the experiential to simulate what feels most true, instead of literal truths. Together, the artists engage in a non-linear, fragmented, and inconclusive conversation on absence, memory, and the fidelity of technology.