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Nov 20
Concert
Instrument of Destiny The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine 1047 Amsterdam Avenue at 112th Street New York, NY 10025
Nov 20
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Sofia Avalon Theater 5612 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20015, US
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Tarik Kiswanson at Performa 19 Alexander Hamilton U.S Custom House 1 Bowling Green, New York, NY 10004

My Mother's Maiden Name at Root Division

What is your mother’s maiden name? Who was your first kiss? 

Banks, credit card companies, and social media sites utilize password security questions when users sign up for an account online. If the user forgets their login information in the future, they can retrieve access to their account by answering these security questions correctly. In most cases, the questions ask users to recall specific memories of their life and reinvent them as an extra form of protection. If one cannot remember their password, surely they can be asked to remember their first kiss in order to regain access to their account. But what are the implications of this protocol? What if a user must recall an invasive or predatory experience as their first kiss? The security questions utilized by corporations realize a subtle system that hinges on potentially harmful emotional triggers and notions of inadequacy. Within this system, corporations attempt to standardize beliefs, knowledge, and values that dictate when and where personal history is trusted to formulate identity and security. 

My Mother’s Maiden Name analyzes this governance of individual history seen in security questions and implements this question and answer protocol as a precedent to discuss online authorship, culture-construction, and systems of knowledge. The selected artists take a considered approach to the fragility of memory and identity amongst digital data noise to account for information that cannot be quantified through such constructs like security systems. 

The artists evaluate elements that are not concrete in text, visible data, or public, and instead entrench themselves in the emotions and values that come with answering a security question or using an Apple-patented gesture, for example. Albeit a coping mechanism or performance to satisfy interfaces with limited language and context, these actions tell important histories and beliefs that go beyond what is typed, selected in a drop down menu, or tracked via wifi. My Mother’s Maiden Name confronts this regulation of bodies to reveal requisite activism, awareness, and dialog to make changes to systems that shape identity and culture in facilities that are otherwise untraceable. 

Exhibiting Artists:
Terry Berlier
Michelle Bonilla Garcia
Kira Dominguez-Hultgren
Joty Dhaliwal
Sarah Lee
Kim Miskowicz
Margaret Noble
Mimi Onuoha
Julien Prévieux
Deborah Stein
tamara suarez porras

Panel Discussion: Thursday, June 20, 6:30 - 8:30pm
Presented in conjunction with My Mother's Maiden Name, Root Division invites you to attend a panel discussion on Thursday, June 20th from 6:30 - 8:30pm with exhibiting artists Kira Dominguez-Hultgren, Joty Dhaliwal, Julien Prévieux and tamara suarez porras and moderated by curator, Tanya Gayer. This discussion will highlight the artist's individual work as well as speak to the range of themes present in the exhibition including how this question and answer protocol as a precedent to discuss online authorship, culture-construction, and systems of knowledge. 

 

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