Daniel Dean, Center for Advanced Applications
“the Center presents a meditation on the existential responses possible under the pressure of commodification. “
Center for Advanced Applications
The Center for Advanced Applications (CAA) is a long-term, strategic research project focused on understanding the complex problems of a globally connected world. CAA consists of creative thinkers and makers from fields such as art, design, education, and communications. The Center leverages this breadth of experience to critically engage with rising trends in global mass culture. The group researches the impact of emerging technologies on mass culture in arenas such as the ownership of information, erosion of privacy, and dependence on technological prostheses. To extend the research initiatives, the CAA offers consulting services, presents concepts, and develops innovative products.
In 2014, CAA addressed existential quandaries of increasingly networked lives and cultures and pressures exerted on our time via the simultaneity of work, play, and socialization. Because consumption is the driving force for economic exchange, CAA developed three products that are introduced in this exhibition. Introductory commercials accompany the launch of each product.
The CAA’s new products appropriate and decontextualize familiar images, objects, and gestures. Smartphones, computer screens, indeterminate software progress indicators, and advertising media become vehicles for reimagining our relationship to the world around us. Metaphysical stone smartphones bridge the gap between a techno-utopian promise and the innate human desire for meaning, knowledge, and spirituality. Black mirrors that mimic the size and shape of common computer and mobile device screens reflect only the user’s image; they challenge the user’s desire to seek meaning beyond the self. A computer software activity indicator becomes real, a portable 3D object that hints at the constant whirring of a global network beyond our control.
In launching these products, the Center for Advanced Applications actualizes its research to reimagine our relationship to each other and to reevaluate the forces of technological change that mediate our understanding of the world. The CAA acknowledges the inherent contradiction that its existence springboards from current power structures like global capitalism yet it adopts these modes to critique these structures.
Methodologies on the Verge (extract)
Kirsten Valentine Cadieux
Daniel Dean’s adjacent Center for Advanced Applications carries on the temporal hybrid: if Lynn’s West Fargo deed game evokes nineteenth-century boomtowns represented through twenty-first-century Facebook activity and online games, Dean’s hyperconsumer e-surface store rests on the social fabric of a nineteenth-century salon and scientific community. Assembling a cohort of extraverted social critics willing to confer on questions of commodity consumerism and motivated by media capitalism, the Center presents a meditation on the existential responses possible under the pressure of commodification. Starting with the existential dread of commodified information, Dean and his collaborators summoned a wide pantheon of material and immaterial laborers. Arriving at a series of slick advertisements and surfaces that repel our clutching habit to attempt to connect through them, the Center for Advanced Applications appropriates our habitual desire for connection to turn commodity fetishism back on itself.
Smoothly welcoming you into the ether of commercialized wellness language via an audio guide to productive stress management, the Center’s voice foregrounds the performative authority of late capitalism. Leaving you as if in the midst of a hypnotism experiment, the Center asks you to experience, over and over, the mechanics of connectedness, demechanizing it, declawing both the anxiety and reward mechanisms of connection technology and requiring us to confront our aspirations for social association and meaning. Deviling the mechanics of authority in the surfaces that command our attention, this installation calls for methods to find in the object of suspended connection, if not solace, an extended view into the detailed abscesses of consumer desire making.
As a conceptually driven artist, I initiate critical dialogue about the role of culturally constructed values and identities by recontextualizing familiar objects, images, language, and processes from social, economic, and political infrastructures. More specifically, an interest in power structures, media, and the ubiquity of network technologies is at the heart of my practice. Media production plays an integral role in how we view the world and ourselves and how we interact with each other. The pervasiveness of global capitalism drives these developments and so provides a key context for my work. I frequently collaborate with others from diverse fields in an effort to better understand my own work. This interdisciplinary approach mirrors the realities of production in today’s globalized world. I see my process as a form of translation, of making transparent subliminal mechanisms of control. In this ongoing project, my primary collaborator is artist John Sebastian Vitale.
b. 1976, Warrenton, VA
Lives and works in Minneapolis
Mentor: Morgan Adamson