January 16 - February 14 2016

Nat Castañeda

I am a Strange Loop









Sister is very pleased to present “I am a Strange Loop” a collection of short animations (GIFs) by artist Nat Castañeda. Trained as a photographer and fine artist, Castañeda primarily works in collage. Her work also includes digital formats of video and animation, but the emphasis in tactile intimacy with her materials remains an important aspect of all her projects. Common issues in Castañeda’s work are the conflating of iconography and pornography, the questioning of traditional gender binaries, and the role of technology within personal narratives.

"I am a Strange Loop" takes its title from the book with the same name by cognitive science professor and writer, Douglas Hofstradter. Through his concept of "the strange loop" Hofstrader theorizes consciousness as an endless self referential feedback loop. Where the psychological ‘I’ is only a narrative fiction created by the intake of symbolic data that seems to represent it. As a consequence identity becomes reducible to a unique pattern of symbolic activity within the nervous system, and suggests that this pattern of symbolic activity that constitutes subjectivity can be replicated within the brains of others, and perhaps can create consciousness in artificial intelligence.

Castañeda’s gifs are animated collages that play with the “strange loop” of cultural identity formation. By reconstructing the hegemonic figures presented (in this case anachronistically) in media and public entertainment, and re-presenting them to the public via Sister’s window space, Castañeda participates in an off kilter recursion that takes place between the broadcaster and recipient of mass image making. Her people are lurid and magical, like characters from an urban fairy tale shot in a porn studio; weird freaks with hot bods and mutated heads jittering endlessly. They are campy and self-indulgent things of pleasure, hypnotically drawing you into their strange loop.

Nat Castañeda is an interdisciplinary visual artist based in Brooklyn, New York. She received her MFA from the School of Visual Arts and has shown at venues such as El Museo del Barrio and Electronic Arts Intermix. In addition to her art practice, Castañeda currently works at The Associated Press where she manages a team that curates the AP's online archive of historical and contemporary photojournalism. Castañeda’s photography has appeared in the New York Times, U.S. News & World Report and USA Today.