Ellen Sleeman-Taylor - 'Flesh d'Lite' - ANU EASS Exhibition

Ellen Sleeman-Taylor

31 Oct 2019 to 10 Nov 2019

Flesh d'Lite is an exhibition by Ellen Sleeman-Taylor, recent graduate of the ANU School of Art and Design and recipient of the EASS CCAS Exhibition Award.

Ellen is interested in the politics of the digital identity, in particular, the sacrifices made by users of technology in order to enable us to live in the new conditions of existence (Émile Durkheim). There are unavoidable sacrifices of our privacy and person made in the name of participation; participation in a culture of which we inextricably are a part of. In this sense it is a false choice, we participate or we are left outside. Our digital footprint demonstrates that our actions and desires can be predicted algorithmically and by all indication, they can also be influenced. This is exploited for capital gain. The contracts we sign, both unread and unreadable, with a click of our screens make a mockery of meaningful consent.

In Flesh d'Lite Sleeman-Taylor is interested in the body and in the ownership of the 'soul'. In Discipline and Punish, Foucault describes the transition of the punitive system from openly cruel, exhibitory displays of their power and ownership over the bodies of the citizens they govern, towards the hidden, the quiet and with outward appearance of rehabilitation characteristic of the prison system. He describes how this new system amounts to the ownership of the soul. Sleeman-Taylor extrapolates these ideas and applies them to the tech giants who are arguably more powerful and influential than some governing bodies, with unprecedented access to knowledge of the most personal nature, including literal ownership of our DNA. She explores these ideas with a series of posters laden with information, soft-sculptures and digital prints and animations. The work is a soft pink that languishes around the room, the colour of 'default flesh', as stipulated by Google's algorithm.