New Museum hosts a screening of Lynn Hershman Leeson’s The Electronic Diaries

January 4, 2021
Lynn Hershman Leeson, The Electronic Diaries, 1984–2019. Video still. Courtesy of the artist and Bridget Donahue, New York.

In 1984, Lynn Hershman Leeson began to talk to a video camera. Over the next four decades, she documented her personal and artistic journey as she continually looked ahead to a transformative technological future while confronting her own painful past. The Electronic Diaries are a groundbreaking exploration of the relationship and slippage between the real and virtual self, culminating with Leeson’s efforts to store her own archives in DNA, and to create her own custom antibody. This artistic research in biotechnology suggests new links between new technology and the body, personal memory and mediated archives—the thematic poles that have long animated Leeson’s practice.

This special screening, followed by a conversation with the artist, is copresented with Rhizome and C-Lab Taiwan as part of “First Look: Forking PiraGene,” an online exhibition that imagines gene writing and discovery as a collective practice, positing a sci-fi scenario in which people propagate a “pirate gene” through informal networks of exchange. The exhibition is a part of Lab Kill Lab, a 7-day, 5-work station feral lab project, conceived and directed by Shu Lea Cheang for C-LAB Technology Media Platform.

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