Orejarena & Stein, Abraham Lincoln / Courtesy of the artists
Caleb Stein & Andrea Orejarena: American Glitch
Feb 9 – Apr 6, 2024
Palo Gallery
New York, USA

Palo Gallery presents American Glitch, a new exhibition by artist duo Orejarena & Stein (b. 1994, Colombia and United Kingdom), and the photographers’ debut solo exhibition in New York City. Presenting a series of new and recent photographs, American Glitch examines the slip between fact and fiction and its manifestation in the physical landscape of the United States, the duo’s adopted home. Orejarena & Stein lead us to examine that amidst an overwhelming sea of unending information available in an instant, society is left asking what is real and what’s fake. What can the world trust, and what is a ‘glitch’? To Orejarena & Stein, screen dominance, conspiracy theories, fake news, and the advent of the Metaverse call to question our reality and our potential existence in a ‘simulation,’ a term employed as a satirical collective protest against late-stage capitalism and an increased dependence on technology. To exist in an online community is to bear witness to the ‘simulation’, where images are posted as personal evidence of spotting a ‘glitch in our reality.’ A concept initially explored in films such as ‘The Matrix’ and ‘The Truman Show,’ a ‘glitch’ reflects a generation’s collective experience wherein the digital and physical worlds have merged; a world in which five senses seem inadequate against campaigns of conspiracy.

The artists spent years treating the internet as our collective subconscious, collating posts on social media and Reddit threads of ‘evidence of glitches in real life’. These threads and images become a place for a new form of community and connection across time and space. Orejarena & Stein then photograph sites around the US which remind them or people on the internet of real-life glitches. Such locations include California City – the blueprint of a perfect town – replete with ‘paper roads,’ avenues, and cul-de-sacs, which were never completed; or a staged Iraqi village at Fort Irwin, the U.S. Army base in the Mojave Desert.

By merging traditional and contemporary photographic techniques Orejarena & Stein transform tools perceived by others as artistic errors into intentional elements to prompt reflection on the intersection of technology, perception, and the human experience. The duo has conducted years of research on social media to discover that online spaces have fostered original forms of community which span time and space, where participation in a thought marketplace creates legitimate feelings of connection. Realizing this research in a comprehensive collection, American Glitch brings together photographs made with a large- format camera coalesced with images sourced from the internet of peoples’ evidence of ‘glitches in resal life’. Utilizing digital elements such as Adobe Photoshop and AI tools, the exhibition includes large-scale prints of Orejana & Stein’s photographs integrated with an installation of smaller-scale prints of the ‘glitch in real life archive’ to form a constellation between two modes of exploring photographic veracity. Thousands of photographs are created daily, and American Glitch examines the intersection of personal existence within this new collective. Amidst an inundation of digital images, Orejarena & Stein exist at the juncture where hope and truth are still alive.

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