Although many of the ways people stayed in touch during the 20th century are still in play, most traditional methods have experienced significant decline. The internet now mediates the greater part of social interaction, and there is scarcely a public space that is not inflected by the virtual world. In Networks, Cheryl Sourkes takes these shifting grounds as her point of departure.
The exhibition consists of two complementary parts: Connection and Connext. Representing a quickly fading past, Connection’s three aspects—Doorbell, Mailbox, and Phone Booth—use intimate framing and altered scale to refresh reception of these well-known, if tired, communication mechanisms. Connext reflects an emerging present, documenting individuals in thrall to their mobile devices. As a result of a post-photographic algorithm, the pixels of these images spread out into abstraction. Uncertain boundaries within the picture plane parallel those between public and private spheres. Additionally, a time-based component based on material captured from popular websites—the types of websites that people represented in Sourkes’ photographs may be browsing—contributes to the feeling that the handheld device has inadvertently turned its users into a variety of cyborgs that share a collective consciousness.