Miguel Lorenzo Uy presents a new body of work in his fourth solo exhibition. Uy’s current interest stems from speculations on how technological advancements have proven to radically alter the meaning of our memory and identity. Consequently, political and economic affairs become entangled to technology’s development as well. With an imminent catastrophe, it becomes necessary to look from another perspective of how one lives within the system today. Political, historical, and even scientific beliefs have become more than ever malleable, politicized, and polarized. Out-of-body simulations acts as a lens; a metaphysical experience; a culmination of these assumptions.
Working within the current situation of physical isolation and existential dread, it is inevitable to witness different events on-screen. Humanity is in the midst of global crises: climate change, post-truth politics, and the coronavirus pandemic. These have resulted in a spring of corrections, reforms, and revolutions in different parts of the globe and different factions of life and society— with outcomes resulting in either sustained peace or increased violence. Some have been repressed, others successful, and a number has blown out of proportion. As many suffer the consequences these events entail, some benefit from all the chaos and oppression as well.
As society transitions into a probable dystopia, Uy presents a video sculpture— one iteration of this project. Astral Prison (2021) embodies a society that has consented to plunder and pillage, deception and tyranny. All that is left is a masqueraded life simulated as digital, posing as authentic and rendering everyone blind from reality. Imposed by the few people in power, the Astral Prison encompasses the physical, digital, and even the spiritual. It manifests itself as a prison without walls; its warden ruthless and manipulative, the shackles and chains invisible, and the sentence inherited generation after generation. It is our burden and our crime; the curse of being born, struggling and consuming to survive, that we are given a life sentence. It is something that cannot easily be perceived yet it is so evident; one that makes us believe that we are truly free.