Sensory Primer

A Tale of a Tub, Rotterdam, the Netherlands
7 February 2019 - 7 April 2019 
Exhibition with commissioned work by Kate Cooper
Curated by Julia Mullié and Nick Terra

For its ninth edition, Kate Cooper (1984, Liverpool UK) has been selected as the winner of the 2018 C.o.C.A Commission, nominated by curators Julia Mullié and Nick Terra. Throughout her work Cooper has developed a language within computer-generated technologies to propose positions of autonomy and withdrawal within digital representation. For her exhibition at A Tale of A Tub, she will present a newly commissioned video installation work alongside a new version of Symptom Machine (2017).

Kate Cooper, Sensory Primer, 2020. Installation view A Tale of Tub. Courtesy the artist. Photo: LNDWstudio.

Cooper’s work grapples with ideas of producing images for consumption; testing where the boundaries of representation might lie through a central digital cipher, encoded as a space through which to explore the performance—and refusal—of labour. Here we are presented with a surrogate with which to navigate the contemporary infrastructures of capital and technology which demand total participation. Cooper’s figures take on different roles: acting as givers of shelter and invisibility, bodies that can perform resistance, be subjected to violence, and yet carry on essentially unscathed, rebuilding themselves to endlessly repeat and perform their labour.

These battered and exhausted digital images present the body ambivalently as both communicator and site of conflict. Cooper approaches the creation and manipulation of these CG bodies with a logic informed by the choreography of the virus within a body’s “sanctuary sites”: vulnerable areas such as the central nervous system where anti-viral drugs cannot easily penetrate. Though inextricably linked to the precise and machine-driven methodologies of digital image production, Cooper consistently reminds us of the fleshy potential of the bodies she creates, challenging viewers’ ability to empathize with an image.

The C.o.C.A. Foundation is a private initiative supporting young artists in the Netherlands with a yearly commission. Earlier recipients include Jay Tan, Rory Pilgrim, Katarina Zdjelar, Christian Friedrich, Evelyn Taocheng Wang, Paul Geelen, Lotte Reimann and Emma van der Put. This exhibition was made possible thanks to the generous support of the City of Rotterdam, Mondriaan Fund, C.o.C.A. Foundation and BeamSystems.

Kate Cooper, Sensory Primer, installation views A Tale of a Tub, 2019. Photos: LNDWstudio.