Niki, Lucy, Lola, Viola collects screenshots of a desktop-performance made by Petra Cortright where virtual erotic dancers perform on various backgrounds. As a result, the pages of the book look like continuous digital collages; synthetic and painterly landscapes populated by the strippers posing for the viewer.
“Before, when I was putting the girls into these specific environments, I think part of me was trying to save them or something — taking them out of some dude's computer and into a farmland or something. I've been thinking about it more, and I don't have the right to do that; I don't know anything about these women. Maybe they're super happy with this career.”
(Petra Cortright speaking about her own work in an article on The NY Times Style magazine)
During the 2 hour performance (from 11:39am until 1:26pm), the artist activated a software that made “Niki”, “Lucy”, “Lola” and “Viola” and other virtual erotic dancers previously purchased online, move and dance on the screen, while she changed the desktop's backgrounds with sampled clip art, wallpapers and imagery found online. Cortright's new video works and series of animated digital paintings are presented at the Depart Foundation, LA within an immersive installation environment that includes atmospheric audio components. These works self-consciously offer an infinite, virtual redundancy in their repetition and absence of real-time. Cortright's artworks play with the vernacular of viral internet culture by appropriating some of its most common forms.
The publication is available with eight different covers, distributed randomly.
Published on the occasion of the eponymous exhibition curated by Paul Young at the Depart Foundation, Los Angeles, from July 9 to September 12, 2015.
The core practice of Petra Cortright (born 1986 in Santa Barbara, California, lives and works in Los Angeles) is the creation and distribution of digital files, whether they be videos, GIFs, or JPEGs, using consumer or corporate software and platforms. She is most well known for her webcam videos: “selfie” inspired digital portraits that are equal parts performance and documentary. These, and her current works, embody the peripatetic anxiety of a culture raised with virtual modalities of self-expression, while also humanizing the impoverishment of these digital ruins with intelligence and play. Cortright's paintings on aluminum or acrylic are created in Photoshop using painting software and appropriated images, icons, and marks. The digital files are endlessly modifiable, but at a “decisive moment” they are translated into two-dimensional objects. They become finite, yet their range of motifs and marks, and their disorienting perspectives and dimensions suggest dynamic change.