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Jonathan Monaghan releases the Disco Beast

The artist takes aim at our digital dependency and consumer culture with a sickly-sweet digital video loop.


  • bitforms gallery

Exhibit 100,
Old Memorial Library, 5381 Spring Garden Road

Do you remember unicorn nails? Unicorn slime? Unicorn frappuccinos? Do you remember when social media was so soaked in glitter, rainbows and horns that it looked like a unicorn factory exploded?

Jonathan Monaghan does. He's a digital artist from Washington, D.C., who'll be exhibiting his work in Halifax for the first time at Nocturne.

During the one-night fest, he's turning a critical eye on the popular #unicorn trend with Disco Beast, a digital video loop that follows a solitary unicorn as it traverses a familiar and terrifying futurescape in a dreamlike cycle of death and rebirth.

"You see, historically, the unicorn was a tale about entrapment," explains Monaghan. "A maiden would lure the unicorn to its demise by being captured by hunters. I think this an apt metaphor for ourselves in the digital age: we are very much seduced by digital technology today, and our obsessions with it could lead to our demise."

As the unicorn clip-clops through abandoned luxury hotels and retail spaces, a certain queasiness about the relationship between our digital dependency and our consumer culture may start to swirl inside you, like those sickly-sweet frappuccinos once did.

Let it. 

"You can think of my work as therapy for an uncertain future," Monaghan says.

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