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Return to Exhibition
Joshua Citarella
Dates: September 10 - October 7, 2017
Opening: Sunday September 10, 4 - 6 pm

Higher Pictures is pleased to premiere new work by Joshua Citarella in the artist’s third solo exhibition with the gallery.

Citarella’s life-sized photographic tableau SWIY comprises hundreds of individual images and is the product of a painstaking process of digital layering and collage. It is the second work in a new series in which Citarella imagines a dystopian near-future, when Americans have widely adopted a variety of social, political, and economic ideologies that are still considered to be fringe or extremist today. The complex scene is filled with allusions to his research into topics including libertarian futurism, transhumanism and postcapitalism, illustrating contemporary struggle in terms of the exit-oriented right and collective bargaining left.

In SWIY (an internet message board acronym for “Someone Who Isn’t You”), a young woman lounges in what initially looks like a generic luxury apartment. Looking out at the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and the city skyline, the building is revealed to be sitting on a platform in the San Francisco Bay, which is a reference to The Seasteading Institute’s proposed prototype for the first mobile, floating community that would exist autonomously outside the U.S.’s exclusive economic zone. The experimental state includes its own airport and shipping terminal, with a smorgasbord of energy options (wind, hydroelectric, solar, and nuclear) prominently on display. In a society where every task that can be successfully automated has been—the vacuum (though currently trapped in the plush carpet) and butler are robotic, the recycling self-sorts, Amazon packages arrive in a dumbwaiter via delivery drones—and Silicon Valley’s innumerable convenience-based products streamline daily life, the woman is freed to do more important things. But far from joyous productivity, her apparent ennui belies a concern about the wider effects of extreme isolationist and individualistic worldviews. As a counter tracks her remaining life hours, she prepares a dubious blood therapy drink and takes other life-extending drugs; outside, back on land, the skyline gives way to an endless stretch of slums, as far as the eye can see.

Joshua Citarella (b. 1987) earned his BFA from the School of Visual Arts in 2010. Recent solo exhibitions include “Ultraviolet Production House: Showroom,” Bahamas Biennale, Detroit (2017) and “Planetary-scale Computation,” Carroll/Fletcher, London (2016). His work was also included in the recent group exhibitions “Alt-Facts,” Postmasters Gallery, New York (2017) and “Inside Out Upside Down,” The Photographer’s Gallery, London (2016). Citarella lives and works in New York City.

For more information please contact Kim Bourus at 212-249-6100.