Diffractions of Post-Humans Benjamin Rosenthal and Katie Torn

Exhibition Dates:

Katie Torn Breathe Deep

April 14 – July 1, 2018
Project Room

Does the surface of our skin draw a line between us and the rest of the world? If we define that boundary we end up with an outline of a person. An outline that is created by gauging the difference between light and dark or one color and another, it is not something we can clearly state. The line does not exist in any material sense of the word. The boundaries we draw between us and them are only a result of repetition of cultural and historical representations that enable forces of domination and occupation—perpetuating centuries of inequity and marginalization that rely on outdated modes of addressing the body and the category of “human.”

Artists Benjamin Rosenthal (Kansas City, MO) and Katie Torn (Brooklyn, NY) create works that question the authenticity of these representations and breaks down binary ways of seeing. By displacing the hegemony of stable bodies and comfortable categories through the lens of animation and new media, these artists open up possibilities for new, hybrid and diffuse forms of representation, interaction and body-ness.

This exhibition is guest curated by Eric Souther (Mishawaka, IN). Souther’s work can be seen in the 2-person exhibition, Katie Duffy and Eric Souther: Agentive Valley, March 31–June 24, 2018.

Images (Above): Katie Torn, Breathe Deep (still image), 2014, single channel animation. Commissioned by the Denver Digerati. (Below) Benjamin Rosenthal, from this side of space to the other side of the signal (still image), 2017, HD video, analog video with 3D animation.


Benjamin Rosenthal lives and works in Kansas City, Missouri, and holds an MFA in Art Studio from the University of California, Davis (2011) and a BFA in Art (Electronic Time-Based Media) from Carnegie Mellon University (2006). Rosenthal’s work examines the strategies of how we perform—the systems of control we establish and the way we negotiate our psychological, tangible and virtual positions. He questiona the emphasis placed on physical experiences as a measure of authenticity or intimacy in an age where the boundaries between physical reality and the virtual become nearly indistinguishable. Employing broader themes such as militarism, religion, queer sexuality, and technology, he challenges the changing condition of bodies and psyches as they collide within these dysfunctional atmospheres. To probe these questions Rosenthal often creates large scale, multi-screen video installations that oscillate between television monitors, electronic “warning signs,” and large-scale projections with intensely frenetic color, pattern and sound. At the core of his current research is an exploration of a new kind of queer “technosexuality.” The work he is producing questions the identity/experience in which the supremacy of physical body-to-body contact, virtual sexualities, and hybrid “techno-body sexuality” exists along a continuum of experience. In his most recent projects, virtual erotic situations ignore the role of genitalia in favor of metaphors for penetration via USB ports implanted in skins of invented characters. Hand and finger images perform the strange “stroking” of body-like images on the screen.

Rosenthal’s work has been exhibited internationally in such venues/festivals as the Stuttgarter Filmwinter (Stuttgart, Germany), High Concept Labs at Mana Contemporary (Chicago, IL), ESPACIO ENTER: Festival International Creatividad, Innovacíon y Cultural Digital (Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain), FILE Electronic Language International Festival (São Paulo, Brazil), Vanity Projects (New York, NY), Locomoción Festival de Animacion (Mexico City, Mexico), CICA Museum (Gimpo-se, Republic of Korea), PLUG Projects (Kansas City, Missouri), the LINOLEUM Festival of Contemporary Animation and Media Art (Kyiv, Ukraine), and SIGGRAPH Asia (Bangkok, Thailand), among others. He has been in residence at the Fjúk Arts Centre (Husavík, Iceland), Signal Culture (Owego, New York) and the Ox-Bow School of Art (Saugatuck, Michigan). Currently he is a resident at the STUDIOS Inc. in Kansas City, Missouri. Rosenthal is Assistant Professor of Expanded Media in the Department of Visual Art at the University of Kansas where he has been since 2012, and teaches video art, performance art, experimental animation, graduate seminar and interdisciplinary practices.


New York-based artist Katie Torn integrates 3D computer graphics and video to model virtually simulated scenes out of the detritus of internet and consumer culture. Collecting discarded products and elements available online, Torn’s digital assemblages carry traces of past consumer eras and web browsing histories. Referencing 20th century investigations into pictorial space and representations of the body found in the Modernist traditions of Cubism and Futurism, Torn abstracts and mechanizes female forms to create fantasy worlds that could only exist in a digital realm.

Torn has exhibited her work at national and international locations including Wayne State University, Detroit, MI (2017); Arizona State University (2017); The MCA, Denver, Colorado (2016); Young Projects, Los Angeles, CA (2016); Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin (2015); The Center for Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv, Israel (2015);  Art in General, New York (2015); Postmasters, New York (2014); Upfor Gallery, Portland (2014); MOMA PS1, New York (2014); Roots & Cultures Contemporary Art Center, Chicago (2013); MOCA, Los Angeles (2013); and Bitforms Gallery, New York (2013). She received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2012). Torn was a 2013 Fellow at the Eyebeam Art & Technology Center, and a resident of LMCC Process Space on Governors Island in 2016.  Her most recent solo exhibitions include An Ocean Without Water at the Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design in Denver (2017), CO and her Low Tide at Upfor Gallery in Portland, OR (2017).


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