I Was Raised on the Internet

  • A blond toddler stands in a white room amid a mess of upturned, damaged computer equipment.
  • Two people lay on the floor beneath a tent-like structure made from two large digital screens. Their heads are hidden beneath the screens.
A blond toddler stands in a white room amid a mess of upturned, damaged computer equipment.
Eva and Franco Mattes, My Generation, 2010. Video (13 minutes, 18 seconds), broken computer tower, CRT monitor, loudspeakers, keyboard, mouse, and various cables; overall dimensions variable. Installation view, Plugin, Basel. Collection of Alain Servais.
Sophia Al-Maria, The Litany (detail), 2016. Sand, glitter, glass, smartphones, computer screens, tablet computers, and USB cables, with multichannel looped digital video (color and black and white, sound); durations variable. Collection of the artist; courtesy of The Third Line, Dubai.
Installation view, Sophia Al-Maria: Black Friday, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Jul 26–Oct 31, 2016. Photo: Ronald Amstutz.
Hito Steyerl, Factory of the Sun, 2015. Single-channel high-definition video, environment, luminescent LE grid, beach chairs; 23 minutes. Image courtesy of the Artist and Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York, CC 4.0 Hito Steyerl.
Two people lay on the floor beneath a tent-like structure made from two large digital screens. Their heads are hidden beneath the screens.
Eva and Franco Mattes, BEFNOED, 2016. Video, screen, custom wall bracket, and various cables; overall dimensions variable. Exhibition view, Carroll/Fletcher, London.
Jon Rafman, Transdimensional Serpent, 2016. Oculus Rift VR headsets, custom-built personal computers, VR program (4 min, 30 sec), fiberglass, faux-leather, and LEDs; unique installation, 600 × 400 × 150 cm. Collection Majudia.
Jeremy Bailey, Nail Art Museum, 2014. Video; 5 minutes, 53 seconds. Courtesy of Pari Nadimi Gallery.
Lizzie Fitch/Ryan Trecartin, Range Week, 2014. Sculptural theater exhibiting Ryan Trecartin, Junior War and CENTER JENNY (both 2013, total running time 77:40). © Lizzie Fitch/Ryan Trecartin, courtesy of Regen Projects and Sprüth Magers.
Daniel Steegmann Mangrané, Phantom (Kingdom of all the animals and all the beasts is my name), 2014–15. Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, Unity 3D forest scan, motion capture technology, and custom ceiling grid. Developed by ScanLab Projects, London. Courtesy of the artist.
Amalia Ulman, Excellences & Perfections (Instagram Update, 5th September 2014), 2014. Private collection, Chicago. Courtesy of the artist and Arcadia Missa.


I Was Raised on the Internet focuses on how the internet has changed the way we experience the world. Due to new types of gaming and entertainment and the rise of social media and alternative modes of representation, the everyday is no longer what it used to be. The ways we interact with each other have shifted through the connected nature of telecommunications devices across the internet, including mobile applications, social media platforms, and large search engines that have become everyday tools for individuals from all walks of life. New modes, not only of seeing but also of feeling, have emerged in response to this.

I Was Raised on the Internet documents a specific moment in time, beginning with 1998 and extending to the present, and focuses on the shifts that have occurred since the millennium. The nearly 100 works in the exhibition span photography, painting, sculpture, film, and video, as well as emerging technologies and interactive elements, which include interactive computer works and virtual reality. Among these are new adaptations of major bodies of work, as well as new commissions from some of the most significant artists working with these ideas today.

The exhibition seeks to put into language the idea of the “millennial’”—in the truest sense of the word—extrapolating the terms used by artists and creative practitioners in relation to the internet, including the so-called post-internet phenomenon. Fittingly, the viewer is an active agent, engaging new forms of networked behavior and participating both in the gallery space and beyond, through additional digital works hosted online. I Was Raised on the Internet plays with the dystopic connotations of our online multiverse but also is a direct reaction to the utopic beginnings of the world of computing.

The exhibition comprises five sections, each describing a different mode of interaction between the viewer and the art object: Look at Me considers new, more fluid forms of identity that have flourished in a world where social media has led to a performance of the self and a networking with others. Touch Me traces the limits of translating information and digital images into real space. This chapter focuses on art’s fluid boundaries between two- and three-dimensions, and addresses the ways individuals are increasingly seeing touch and sensuality as entirely new constructs in the world of the internet. Control Me addresses the pervasive culture of surveillance and data collection that network technology enables. How do we create a visual vocabulary for state control, and what future can this vocabulary enable for us as citizens? Play with Me documents the ways in which art grapples with the move toward immersive and interactive technologies developing today, in which the visitor is not merely a passive viewer but an active agent in the work. Finally, Sell Me Out focuses on corporate culture and consumerism. Artists take up ideas from marketing, such as brand identity, with a critical eye to expose, critique, and participate in our late capitalist landscape, and to imagine new futures for the labor of buying and selling. Additionally, viewers can access each section’s online works through an exhibition website.

This exhibition is presented in the Griffin Galleries of Contemporary Art and the Turner Gallery.


Artists featured in I Was Raised on the Internet include:

Sophia Al-Maria
American Artist
Anna Anthropy
Cory Arcangel
Jeremy Bailey*
Zach Blas
Nate Boyce
Ingrid Burrington
Cao Fei
Antoine Catala
Jon Chambers*
Shu Lea Cheang
Ian Cheng
Chris Collins
Petra Cortright
Douglas Coupland
Simon Denny
Aleksandra Domanović
Stan Douglas
Constant Dullaart
E. Jane
Lizzie Fitch & Ryan Trecartin
John Gerrard
Óscar González-Díaz*
Matthew Angelo Harrison
Erin Hayden
Porpentine Charity Heartscape*
Mashaun Ali Hendricks*
Femke Herregraven
Shawné Michaelain Holloway*
Joel Holmberg
Juliana Huxtable
Oliver Laric
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer
Sara Ludy
Rachel Maclean
Eva and Franco Mattes
Takeshi Murata
Jayson Musson
Mendi + Keith Obadike
Laura Owens
Trevor Paglen
Heather Phillipson*
Angelo Plessas
Jon Rafman
Sean Raspet
Tabita Rezaire
Tabor Robak
Evan Roth
Jacolby Satterwhite
Ben Schumacher
Bogosi Sekhukhuni
Elias Sime
Daniel Steegman Mangrané
Hito Steyerl
Christopher Kulendran Thomas in collaboration with Annika Kuhlmann*
Thomson & Craighead
Josh Tonsfeldt
Francis Tseng
Amalia Ulman
Harm van den Dorpel
Artie Vierkant
Andrew Norman Wilson

* Commissioned work


This program is supported by a lead grant from the Carl & Marilynn Thoma Art Foundation.

Additional generous support is provided by Robert J. Buford, and Susan D. Goodman and Rodney Lubeznik.

Donations generously provided by Plant Chicago and CDW.