Artificial Selection

April 24 – June 26, 2010

Reviews, Articles and Downloads

Artificial Selection Catalog

Weekly Alibi article. The Alibi: Hi-Tech Husbandry, Erin Adair-Hodges. Albuquerque Sunday Journal: Future shock, Dan Mayfield. Local IQ: Selective Fusion, Heather Saxon. Opening photos.

Opening Reception
Saturday, April 24, 6-8pm

516 ARTS announces Artificial Selection, a group exhibition bringing together art, science, myth and technology. It examines contemporary artists’ responses to the processes of adaptation, mutation and survival when the natural order distinguishing species or machine becomes less distinct. Gene manipulation in plants and animals to enhance or specialize performance or product yield has been a historically long-standing human practice, including the controversial “selective breeding” in humans with the study and practice of eugenics. Yet today, no longer shrugged off as the stuff of science fiction or fantasy, genetic engineering and other advances in technology have offered up the real possibilities of super-humans, “designer” babies, sentient robots and hybrids of any variety and combination of human-animal-vegetable-machine. Hybrids pervade our mythologies and religions and continue to play an influential role in the way we perceive our capabilities as a creative species. Whether pursuing power, progress or pure experiment, do we fully understand the consequences of artificial selection?

The exhibition features local and national artists with work in photography, painting, sculpture, interactive video, ceramics, installation and robotics.

Artists include:

Krista Birnbaum (OH)
Steve Budington (VT)
Christine Chin (NY)
Robert Dohrmann (OK)
Travis J. Farnsworth (NM)
Sarah Hearn (NY)
Laurie Hogin (IL)
Simon Mehalek (NM)
Stephanie Metz (CA)

Andrea Polli (NM)
Adrienne Outlaw (TN)
Alison Petty Ragguette (CA)
Gil Scullion (CT)
Luke Shaw (NY)
John Stephenson (NC)
Brad Story (MA)
Heidi Taillefer (Quebec)
Adrianne Wortzel (NY)


Curated by Rhiannon Mercer, 516 ARTS.

Special programs are organized in collaboration with UNM ARTS Lab.

Special thanks to Scion.



Workshop: Robotics Hack-O-Rama

Thursday, April 29, 2pm

at UNM ARTS Lab, 131 Pine Street NE, Albuquerque

516 ARTS and UNM ARTS Lab present a workshop and demo exploring some how-to techniques of robotics and hacking as they can be applied to artistic practices. This workshop is led by Simon Mehalek, artist and researcher featured in Artificial Selection. Open to teens and adults. More details available soon!
Fee: $15/$12 for 516 members / free for UNM students • Space is limited!
Info/register: 505-242-1445,


Man, Machines & Metropolis, featuring The Chuppers

Friday, April 30, 8pm

at UNM ARTS Lab, 131 Pine Street NE, Albuquerque

In conjunction with the Artificial Selection exhibition, 516 ARTS and UNM ARTS Lab present a unique evening of live music and digital media inspired by the dystopic vision of Fritz Lang’s classic film Metropolis (1927) and issues of humanity and machines. This event features a performance by The Chuppers, a showing of specially selected content in ARTS Lab’s fulldome theater, the “GDome”, and a few other treats. The Chuppers grew out of UNM’s Electric Ensemble, a collaboration between UNM’s Music Department, Ubik Sound and the Interdisciplinary Film and Digital Media Program (IFDM). Facilitated by Manny Rettinger, the group creates musical instruments called “chuppers” which combine old and new technology, including audio processors, speakers, computers, microphones, cameras, traditional and non-traditional instruments, projectors and more.
Tickets available at the door (UNM ARTS Lab).
Admission: $8 / $5 UNM faculty, students & 516 members


Panel Discussion: Robotics + Art - Theory & Technology Smack Down!

Saturday, May 1, 2pm

at 516 ARTS, 516 Central Ave. SW, Downtown Albuquerque • Free admission

516 ARTS and UNM ARTS Lab present a panel discussion with artists and scientists to explore common ground and cross-over between fine art, robotics, artificial intelligence and new technology. Panelists include Thomas Caudell, Ph.D., Professor, Dept. of Electrical & Computer Engineering & Dept. of Computer Science, UNM; Simon Mehalek, Artist/Research Scientist, Santa Fe Complex/Mehalek Laboratory; Melanie Moses, Ph.D., Dept. of Computer Science, UNM; and Mark Walker, Ph.D., Dept. of Philosophy, NMSU. This event is moderated by Andrea Polli, Artist/Director of ARTS Lab & Interdisciplinary Film & Digital Media Program, UNM.
For information about UNM ARTS Lab: visit or call 505-277-2253.



Saturday, May 15, 8pm

Join 516 ARTS for a poetry reading in the gallery relating to the themes in Artificial Selection, featuring Erin Adair-Hodges, Hakim Bellamy and Carlos Contreras. More details.


Alley Art Youth Opening

Saturday, May 29, 4-6pm

Join 516 ARTS and Warehouse 508 to celebrate the new Alley Art Mural on the back of the 516 ARTS building in the alley between 5th and 6th Streets. These temporary murals are thematically tied to each exhibition at 516 ARTS and have special Youth Openings with music and spoken word programming.


516 WORDS:
Book Release & Reading: The Relenting by Lisa Gill

Friday, June 11, 8pm

The Relenting is a lyric poem by poet Lisa Gill, inspired by an incident in 2009 when Gill found a rattlesnake coiled on the brick floor of her cabin, which sparked an archetypal journey. The Relenting will be published by New Rivers Press. The work of artist Travis J. Farnsworth, featured in Artificial Selection, contributed the cover imagery to the book. Join us for a live reading in the gallery with Lisa Gill and guests, and an after party with th3 e1emental orke5tra, featuring Mike Balistreri, Mark Weaver, and Shawn Woodyard.

image above: Milkcows (detail) by Stephanie Metz