The Self On-Screen

Pavel Pyś Reflects on The Body Electric

in Screen Bodies
Pavel Pyś Curator of Visual, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, USA

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The Body Electric was catalyzed by the frustration of seeing a group of artists of roughly the same age exhibited predominantly within the context of their own generation. The majority were working with new technologies (such as 3D printing, motion capture, avatars, computer-generated animations), and many were grouped under the moniker “post-internet art,” which, by the time the exhibition had opened, had become an exhausted term with little currency (see ). The impetus was to age these emerging and mid-career artists by creating an intergenerational family tree, elevating overlooked voices and demonstrating a healthy skepticism toward the novelty of technology. The through line connecting the artists on view was a shared engagement with the body and its mediated image, raising important questions about representation, especially in terms of identity, embodiment, race, gender, sexuality, class, and belonging. Like Alice disappearing through the mirror, these artists nimbly cross the boundaries separating the physical world and its space on-screen, blurring 2D and 3D, real and virtual, analog and digital. As these distinctions melt away, how are artists questioning the present and warning of what lies around the corner?

Contributor Notes

Pavel Pyś is Curator of Visual Arts at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. At the Walker, Pavel has curated projects across the galleries, theater, and Sculpture Garden, including the group exhibition The Body Electric and solo projects with Daniel Buren, Paul Chan, Michaela Eichwald, Carolyn Lazard, and Elizabeth Price. He was the Exhibitions and Displays Curator at the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds between 2011 and 2015. Email:

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Screen Bodies

The Journal of Embodiment, Media Arts, and Technology


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