“Rachel Stuckey: Good Days & Bad Days on the Internet” at Women & Their Work

The artist creates some genuinely geeky-cool stuff in this show that’s smart, funny, and fresh in its treatment of tech


#baddaysgooddays, Twitter bot

"My senior year was awesome, had a baby, at the same time got a new macbook & Graduated." Thus spat out the Twitter bot @baddaysgooddays after I punched a button indicating I was having a Good Day. An interactive portion of Rachel Stuckey's Women & Their Work show "Good Days & Bad Days on the Internet," the auto-generated text is culled from posts related to technology and tagged #awesomeday, #ftw, #worstdayever, and #fml. It's a charming introduction to the show, akin to a seemingly innocuous initial check-in on social media – FB and your therapist want to know: "What's on your mind?" – that ushers a fall into an internet K-hole.

Light-blocking curtains section off most of the rest of the show, simulating the circadian disruption that comes with overexposure to exclusively artificial light. Once you're beyond the curtain, the space is dark save for a neon-pink glow and the light emanating from screens, of which there are plenty. A ghostly, pulsing female voice sings drone-y covers overhead, most notably a disorienting version of Creed's "With Arms Wide Open." The show is not without a sense of humor.

Stuckey has done some genuinely geeky-cool stuff here. Don't miss: a dumb terminal, a tiny 3-D-printed model of an early terminal computer that displays a grid animation; a wobbulated GIF that will have you trying to pick out patterns as an old Samsung screen convulses and the accompanying soundtrack moves from music to noise and back; and, to quote the program, a "sensuous, undulating wave of textural video pixels with accompaniment from an avatar guardian."

In a separate area designed to approximate a 1980s office, a screen sits atop a desk playing a video performance. Stuckey has created a fictive promotional video for Disk 3, an artificial intelligence on a floppy disk from the clones at Fortuna 500. It's a vintage tongue-in-cheek treatment of tech bro archetypes, where, to quote the enthusiastic Ms. DOS, head of sales and customer service, "We're not just corporate drones, we're literally clones!" Other literal clones include a sleep-deprived and vocal-fried Cameron Howe-type programmer and an artificially sweet "personality writer," all played by Stuckey. The piece is hokey and affected, but intentionally and winningly so.

The most dominating piece is a giant projection of what is defined as "bitrot." A grotesque deterioration of pixels, the nearly 20-minute video shows a girl group's performance morphing into a horrifying prism of body parts. This shit is daze-y, at once entrancing and sinister. You could be rapt there interminably, a statement that holds true for many of Stuckey's installations and even more holes of the internet.

In a time where the last three words of "Good Days & Bad Days on the Internet" are perhaps redundant, the show manages to be smart, funny, and fresh in its treatment of tech, never too doomsday – it's clear Stuckey loves this stuff – but nonetheless interested in teasing out the development and nature of technology's sometimes-banal, sometimes-disturbing captivation. An update from the bot: "Have to watch my terrible cousins. They stole (and nearly broke) my ipad and are throwing my cat around like a stuffed animal." Sounds like a Bad Day. :(


"Rachel Stuckey: Good Days & Bad Days on the Internet"

Women & Their Work, 1710 Lavaca
www.womenandtheirwork.org
Through Jan. 11

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Women & Their Work
“Candace Hicks: Many Mini Murder Scenes” at Women & Their Work
“Candace Hicks: Many Mini Murder Scenes” at Women & Their Work
In her small-scale re-creations of murder scenes in mystery novels, the artist provides playful social commentary on the genre

Taylor Prewitt, Oct. 26, 2018

"Margaux Crump: The Lure" at Women & Their Work
Juxtaposing natural and synthetic materials through the metaphor of the hunt, the artist blurs lines between lust and danger, the repellent and the seductive

Melany Jean, July 20, 2018

More Arts Reviews
Ground Floor Theatre's <i>Fun Home</i>
Ground Floor Theatre's Fun Home
Lisa Scheps' production is invested with a level of care that makes this musical memoir movingly familiar

Trey Gutierrez, Dec. 14, 2018

Ballet Austin’s <i>The Nutcracker</i>
Ballet Austin’s The Nutcracker
The company’s 56th run at this holiday classic retains its magic – enough beauty and wonder to transport you to enchanting realms

Robert Faires, Dec. 14, 2018

More by Melany Jean
"Annie Miller: I see london, I see france" at MoHA
This show in the Cage Match Project series casts the viewer as peeping Tom, looking through holes in a boarded-up trailer to view art

Nov. 30, 2018

MASS Gallery's
MASS Gallery's "Staycation: thresholds"
The gallery's first exhibit in its new home invites viewers into the private self and into the stretching of one's limits

Nov. 16, 2018

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Women & Their Work, Rachel Stuckey

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle