• Primal Machines - 2018 Alumni Exhibition


    October 13, 2018 - October 21, 2018

    Closing reception: Saturday, October 20, 6-8 p.m.

    This year’s Parsons Alumni exhibition explores the psychology behind the behavioral manipulation that we, as digital participants and consumers, experience on a daily basis. Mobilized via media outlets, advertising, marketing, entertainment, and social media platforms in an attempt to predict, control, and change all manner of social, political, and economic behaviors, manipulation tactics have stark effects on global populations and widespread repercussions that are increasingly impossible to ignore.

    The artists in this exhibition treat the gallery as a conditioning chamber and use their work as a way to peel back the layers of manipulation we experience in a hyper-social digital culture. Instead of trying to sway opinions, they highlight our primal natures. Incorporating both new technologies and traditional mediums that oscillate between static and immersive, the artworks underscore the importance of recognizing our primal nature in order to end cycles of manipulation.

    Fear is among our oldest evolutionary emotions and makes us vulnerable to manipulation. Environmental stimuli triggering fear have evolved and advanced at a rate faster than our own biological evolution. As these stimuli have expanded with technological advancements, it is worth considering that our biological responses have remained largely the same. Social media and their potential for instilling fear have profoundly changed the beliefs of communities across the world. As a consequence, the mobilization of fear as a means of manipulating human behavior has reached a level of digital and technological sophistication unprecedented in human history.

    Curated by Colette Robbins, MFA Fine Arts 2007

    Participating Artists:

    Anneli Goeller, BFA Fine Arts 2015

    Jesse Patrick Martin, MFA Fine Arts 2008

    Ron Morrison, MS Design and Urban Ecologies 2015

    Colette Robbins, MFA Fine Arts 2007


    Presented as part of Parsons Reunion 2018 with support from Alumni Relations and the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center.