Do Not Fold, Spindle, or Mutilate
October 1 - December 3, 2022
For the first time, the Rena Bransten Gallery and the Casemore Gallery are co-presenting the sprawling, sometimes serious and sometimes riotous exhibition, “Do Not Fold, Spindle, or Mutilate.”
Taking place in both Gallery spaces, the exhibition is themed around the instructive “Do Not Fold, Spindle, or Mutilate” a phrase that dates to the 1950s and was printed on the once ubiquitous IBM punch cards. A pre-digital age technology, punch cards were used for everything from census taking, to payroll processing, to police record keeping, storing data as a series of holes in collated cards. While originally intended to maintain the cards’ machine readability, the phrase took on a politically subversive meaning when it was adopted by UC Berkeley students during the free speech movement of the 1960s, as punch cards were used to keep track of student records. The words came to be aligned with a general rejection of the dehumanization of a rapidly computerizing world, used ironically to assert personhood over objectification. Through a contemporary lens, it can be read as a rally against online surveillance and the collection of our personal data.
We have chosen to add an additional interpretation that defying this instructive has a subversive aspect – the exhibition includes works on paper, photography, sculpture, video, shaped canvas, collage, and textile work by artists pushing the boundaries of their respective mediums – bending the rules either aesthetically or conceptually. Gallery rules and best practices are also broken as storage records and artist identification are lost or altered.
The works included here are unified by an ethos of thinking outside the box – challenging the traditionally prescribed parameters of a given media. We hope the viewer enjoys the resistance to conformity and expression of freedom.