At the Whitney, Taking Aim at the Digital Age
Exhibition Review
Oct 10, 2018
Blouin Art Info
Connor Goodwin

Much of the early work in the show, like the technology itself, simply did not age well. In the ’70s it may have been a marvel to generate a drawing using computer code, but that sense of awe has long dried up. One notable exception is “Lorna,” 1979-’84, an interactive video installation by Lynn Hershman Leeson that invites viewers into the life of Lorna, a woman suffering from agoraphobia. The installation mirrors Lorna’s room as seen on TV. The objects around it – a goldfish bowl, cheetah-print heels, a wallet – are listed on the TV screen as options in a choose-your-own adventure via remote control. Each choice leads to different video clips that are equal parts surreal and film noir. The branching narrative can unfold in a number of ways, but there are only three endings: death, escape, or destroying the TV. Leeson offers an expansive commentary on our mediated existence and how we’re all, especially women, stifled and subjugated by forces beyond our control.