a solo exhibition by Logan Franken
I would like to begin by acknowledging the obvious and saying, yes, I did give the first exhibition slot at Deep Space to a cis white man. I know how it looks, but give me a sec to explain: Logan is my partner-in-crime, and Deep Space was a half-joke born out of a weekend late night conversation on January 23rd. I essentially (by which I mean, literally) coerced and cajoled him into coming up with an exhibition and executing it in two weeks. If I had not asked Logan, I would not have felt comfortable asking anyone else to do this for me in two weeks, and thus the gallery would have remained empty until March. And also, Logan is my best friend! He has supported me in so many ways and made it possible for me to make work, have such a rich studio practice, and have the spare energy to devote to projects like Deep Space.
In addition, I love the way he thinks about technology and art. Logan is a person who is unabashedly analyzing the human biases that all technological advances are rooted in and an extension of, and in this analysis, he is not afraid of turning his gaze inward and criticizing his own role and complacency within this system. We see this in the thoughtful dialogue that he is having with himself in Reserved Words. Viewing this exhibition feels like eavesdropping on an intimate conversation as Logan parses, assesses, and reassembles his own interactions with, and relationship to 'The Machine.' In the works, The Machine and Logan seem to circle each other wearily, but with compassion, pulling apart, criticizing, and amending each other's work and place within the larger narrative of the exhibition. It is a give and take that is representative of the duality of our increasingly technological world -- the agency it gives to us and the servitude that it requests in return.
In witnessing this conversation, we are able to see beyond the narrative that we have been sold for years: that technology is an unbiased machine unrelated and not susceptible to the flaws inherent in our humanness. But can something that has been made by human hands ever rid itself of its origins? And if those hands are almost exclusively those of cis white men, isn't it inevitable that the machines would be built in their image? What does that mean for the rest of us?
In Reserved Words, we see Logan grapple with these questions without shying away from implicating himself in the process. We see him explore the boundaries of what it means to be The User and what it means to be The Machine in a nuanced, complexly political, and compassionate way that only someone who has long since felt most at home amongst The Machine, and perhaps always seen himself reflected in its neat, logical mechanics, can.
As for him being a cis white dude, honestly, I have been trying to get Logan to dip his toe into making his own work for four years. Deep Space began as just another tactic in that battle, and, as it turns out, the only tactic that worked. And now there exists the beautiful body of work that you see in Reserved Words, and for that, I have no regrets.