Exhibitions , San Francisco

Frozen World of the Familiar Stranger

A common dynamic amongst individuals in large cities is the possibility of anonymity, the luxury and burden engaging with the city’s other inhabitants. If we accept the city to be a site in constant flux, then the construction and destruction of its built environment signal a prevailing circumstance in which the city is subject to a cyclical process of decay and renewal. Elements of this condition are characterized by the stabilizing ambitions of modernization, and the brutal acceleration of global capitalism, which reveal a complex tension between permanence and contingency. Every city contains variants of this tension, while also remaining bound to a particular history, culture, geography, economy, and memory that inform their own urban core.

Frozen World of the Familiar Stranger reflects upon the uncanny sensation of the ultra-modern global megalopolis, and the increasing sense of alienation we encounter in our flattening world. The exhibition builds upon social psychologist Stanley Milgram’s 1970s theory of “The Familiar Stranger” to consider urban apocalyptic symptoms; physical, environmental, behavioral, psychological, and social. Through works exploring isolation, confinement, collapse, transience, anxieties, and fantasies of inhabiting collective urban space, Frozen World offers an almost satirical point of view on the human condition and what it means to be alive together in the present, and in the constructed future.