The psychology behind the behavioral manipulation that we, as digital participants and consumers, experience on a daily basis is the premise of this exhibition. Mobilized via media outlets, advertising, marketing, entertainment, and social media platforms in an attempt to predict, control, and change all manner of social, political, and economic behaviors, manipulation tactics have stark effects on global populations and widespread repercussions that are increasingly impossible to ignore.
The artists in this exhibition treat the gallery as a conditioning chamber and use their work as a way to peel back the layers of manipulation we experience in a hyper-social digital culture. Instead of trying to sway opinions, they highlight our primal natures. Incorporating both new technologies and traditional mediums that oscillate between static and immersive, the artworks underscore the importance of recognizing our primal nature in order to end cycles of manipulation.
Fear is among our oldest evolutionary emotions and makes us vulnerable to manipulation. Environmental stimuli triggering fear have evolved and advanced at a rate faster than our own biological evolution. As these stimuli have expanded with technological advancements, it is worth considering that our biological responses have remained largely the same. Social media and their potential for instilling fear have profoundly changed the beliefs of communities across the world. As a consequence, the mobilization of fear as a means of manipulating human behavior has reached a level of digital and technological sophistication unprecedented in human history.