Misbits featured artist highlights ‘techno-sublime’ through immersive exhibit

Posted on Oct 23 2017 - 7:59am by Jacqueline Schlick

Misbits, a new media art space, is featuring artist Eric Valosin in a show that explores the intersection of technology and the divine. This immersive experience, “For(Loop) {Meditations;},” is named for both how a computer views an image and how people conduct meditation on prayer beads. As the computer moves pixel by pixel to perform specific functions, one moves bead by bead in prayer.

“The installation consists of a strand of push-button prayer beads which facilitates a meditation on an image, pixel by pixel, each bead changing the color of the light in the room to the color of that pixel,” the Misbits website says.


Photo courtesy: Facebook

Valosin, a New Jersey native, seeks the techno-sublime — a term coined by American art critic Hal Foster to mean sublime experiences pushed through technological mediation. In other words, he creates art that allows people to experience spirituality by way of different pieces of technology.

Valosin was raised in the church but grew up in a community of diverse religious perspectives, and said that sparked his interest in the relationship between art and faith.

“I sought for many years to find an expression of the intersection of art and faith, which didn’t water down one for the sake of the other,” Valosin said. “For me, that meant I had to find a way to artistically grapple with the complexities of spiritual experience in an honest way.”

In graduate school, Valosin’s existential curiosity was broadened by philosophy classes, in which he began to wonder how spiritual experiences were still possible in a post-Nietzsche world where ideas of postmodernism declared God to be dead. At the same time, Valosin experimented with technology and realized it was the inspiration he was searching for.

“I was using technology like digital projectors in my art as a means to an end, and it became apparent that the means were becoming more interesting than the end,” Valosin said. “What did it mean that I was using digital mediation to facilitate an ancient, analog experience? I started asking myself how one can engage in ancient practices through the use of contemporary technology. Furthermore, how does one do so in a way that feels ethically responsible and nuanced enough to hold up against a globalized, post-modernized context?”

Valosin conducted an MFA studio visit in the art and art history departments at Ole Miss last Thursday and has spoken at other colleges and universities predominantly on the East Coast. He teaches at the College of Saint Elizabeth in New Jersey.

“I enjoy the academic atmosphere, where I feel like there’s a real interest and hunger for the less superficial side of art,” Valosin said. “I’ve gotten to explore some really neat places and meet some amazing people as a result.”

Valerie Guinn Polgar, founder of Misbits, discovered Valosin on Instagram and invited him because she had not yet had a piece as fully immersive as “For(Loop) {Meditations;} in her 100-square-foot space.

“He has a strong background in and an appreciation for traditional art practices and is fully devoted to the pursuit of his concept, which led him to the use of technology in his art and to the study of religious philosophy,” Polgar said.

Valosin met Polgar and toured the space at Misbits before deciding to display his art.

“It seemed to be a perfect fit for this project I had been working on for almost three years off and on, waiting for the right opportunity to show it,” Valosin said.

This is Misbit’s final opening reception for 2017 and it will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Misbit’s location on University Avenue. This final solo show artist for 2017 at Misbits will be conducted with the Oxford Art Crawl. Viewing hours for Valosin’s show are Monday-Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. or by appointment through Nov. 14. Valosin will give an artist talk Monday at the university with the Department of Art and Art History.