Edited by Dr. Omar Kholeif, FRSA
Co-published by Sharjah Art Foundation and Mörel Books.
Foreword by Hoor Al Qasimi
With original essay contributions by Anonymous, Saira Ansari, Cory Arcangel, Jeremy Bailey, Douglas Coupland, Simon Denny, Heather Dewey-Hagborg, Aruba Khalid, Omar Kholeif, Norman M. Klein, W. J. T. Mitchell, Todd Reisz, Danko Stjepanovic, and Marc Tuters
With photo essays by Cory Arcangel, Douglas Coupland, Simon Denny
Exhibition Photography by Danko Stjepanovic
Artists: Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Cory Arcangel, Jeremy Bailey, Wafaa Bilal, James Bridle, Antoine Catala, Douglas Coupland, Thomson & Craighead, Simon Denny, Aleksandra Domanović, Constant Dullaart, Electronic Disturbance Theater, Cao Fei, Oliver Laric, Lynn Hershman-Leeson, Rafael Lozanno-Hemmer, Eva and Franco Mattes, Josha Nathanson, Katja Novitskova, Trevor Paglen, Jon Rafman, Tabor Robak, Pamela Rosenkranz, Aura Satz, Bogosi Sekhukhuni, Jenna Sutela, United Visual Artists (UVA), Siebren Veersteeg, Andrew Norman Wilson, Guan Xiao and YOUNG-HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIES.
This major publication coincides with the exhibition, Art in the Age of Anxiety, the most ambitious exhibition to look at the relationship between art and the internet ever to be held in the Middle East. Originally scheduled to open on the 21st of March at the Sharjah Art Foundation in the United Arab Emirates and curated by Dr. Omar Kholeif, one of the leading voices in the conversation on art and its relationship to technology - the exhibition explores how our everyday devices and their attendant networks have affected our collective and individual consciousness. The exhibition is designed by leading architect, Todd Reisz, who worked with Kholeif and Sharjah Art Foundation team to create an immersive, labyrinth that plays with cognition, light and shadow -inviting the viewer to consider their complicit role in the increasingly corporatised technological sphere. The exhibition is temporarily closed due to health concerns around and to avoid the spread of COVID-19.
Art in the Age of Anxiety conjures the bombardment of information, misinformation, deception and secrecy that invades both online and offline life in the 'post-digital' age. It invites the reader to consider how one's perception and decision-making has been deeply affected by the proliferation of internet access, which now surpasses 3 billion users worldwide.
This publication brings together some of the major thought leaders in the field of image and internet culture. They have each produced new critical writings that interrogate the digital realm from a variety of perspectives. Their writings are presented alongside beautifully produced artistic interventions to create a book that operates as an exhibition in its own right.
Themes explored within the publication, include, the future of money; the role of art in a post-COVID-19 era; mental health in the digital age; the mediation of image culture through the internet; the surfaces of exhibitions online; grieving online; the thickening of the digital sphere, as well as a re-appraisal of cross-embedded media. This meticulously designed book is a labour of love produced by a collective of writers, artists, designers, photographers and publishers. Ultimately, this pivotal piece of work seeks to ask: What is our collective future and how will humanity adapt to it?
About Omar Kholeif
Dr Omar Kholeif, FRSA is a writer, curator and spokesperson on humanitarian causes. He is currently the Director of Collections and Senior Curator at the Sharjah Art Foundation. He has held leadership roles at some of the world's pre-eminent museums and art institutions for over a decade as a senior curator and director. He has curated over a dozen exhibitions related to digital culture and he also guest curated or co-curated numerous exhibitions internationally from the Sharjah Biennial to the Liverpool Biennial, as well as various pavilions at the Venice Biennale, to name but a few projects. He is the author of over two-dozen books and catalogues on modern and contemporary art, with numerous books focused on the relationship between art and technology. His writing in books, newspaper and magazines have been translated into 12 languages and he has sold more than 100,000 books. You can find out more or reach him through his website: www.omarkholeif.com
About Sharjah Art Foundation
Sharjah Art Foundation is an advocate, catalyst and producer of contemporary art within the Emirate of Sharjah and the surrounding region, in dialogue with the international arts community. Under the leadership of founder Hoor Al Qasimi, a curator and artist, the foundation advances an experimental and wide-ranging programmatic model that supports the production and presentation of contemporary art, preserves and celebrates the distinct culture of the region and encourages a shared understanding of the transformational role of art. The foundation’s core initiatives include the Sharjah Biennial, featuring contemporary artists from around the world; the annual March Meeting, a convening of international arts professionals and artists; grants and residencies for artists, curators and cultural producers; ambitious and experimental commissions and a range of travelling exhibitions and scholarly publications. Established in 2009 to expand programmes beyond the Sharjah Biennial, which launched in 1993, the foundation is a critical resource for artists and cultural organisations in the Gulf and a conduit for local, regional and international developments in contemporary art. The foundation’s deep commitment to developing and sustaining the cultural life and heritage of Sharjah is reflected through year-round exhibitions, performances, screenings and educational programmes in the city of Sharjah and across the Emirate, often hosted in historic buildings that have been repurposed as cultural and community centres. A growing collection reflects the foundation’s support of contemporary artists in the realisation of new work and its recognition of the contributions made by pioneering modern artists from the region and around the world. Sharjah Art Foundation is a legally independent public body established by Emiri Decree and supported by government funding, grants from national and international nonprofits and cultural organisations, corporate sponsors and individual patrons. All exhibitions are free and open to the public.