João Enxuto and Erica Love’s institutionally focused work forms the basis of Beacons. The exhibition builds upon their interest in the role technology plays in mediating the power dynamics between institutions and their publics. Some of the beacons used in this exhibition—small Bluetooth sensors that can be attached to objects to communicate location and other data—are a “smart” technology that allows for user interactivity and monitoring within the gallery space. This technology has recently been employed in commercial contexts and museums to monitor the attention given to commodities and artworks. Like data collected from any social system, this information is often put into service to shore up institutional agendas. For Beacons, the artists use these and other technologies to foreground how exhibitions spaces, long before the advent “smart technologies”, already functioned according to strict protocols. By drawing thematic threads throughout the gallery as if it was a nervous system (a common analogy used in cybernetics), sensors will graph the movement of objects and map signals from things that would otherwise be insensible. Beacons extends beyond the gallery walls to draw wider connections between contemporary art, creative production, and the possible limits to future growth due to environmental conditions.

Exhibition Press Release and Checklist