Message from Our Planet: Digital Art from the Thoma Collection

Jun 17, 2023 — Sep 9, 2023

Message from Our Planet brings together over twenty software, video, and light-technology artworks from artists working at the forefront of digital and electronic art.

About the Exhibition

Message from Our Planet proposes that digital technologies offer distinct ways for artists to communicate with future generations. In the hands of these creative artists computer code, digital data, video games, and even discarded electronic parts, become engaging works of art with the power to express their unique beliefs, ideas, and desires.

Digital art is a term used to describe art that is created, stored, or presented using digital technology. It can be created in an incredible variety of mediums, including video, digital photography, computer-generated graphics, and more. Many artists combine digital tools with traditional media like Detroit-based artist Matthew Angelo Harrison who uses custom software and a hand-made 3D printer to create ceramic sculptures. Other artists remain exclusively within the digital realm and often utilize tools not originally intended for artistic expression, like Mohawk artist Skawennati who built sets, created characters, and filmed her video TimeTraveller™ within the video game Second Life. As digital technology becomes intertwined with our everyday existence and continues to advance, new avenues of expression will continue to open for today’s artists.

Curated and Supported by the Carl & Marilynn Thoma Foundation

Featured Artists

  • Brian Bress
  • Lia Chaia
  • Ólafur Elíasson
  • Nicholas Galanin
  • Sabrina Gschwandtner
  • Hong Hao
  • Matthew Angelo Harrison
  • Claudia Hart
  • Jenny Holzer
  • Eduardo Kac
  • LoVid
  • Christian Marclay
  • Lee Lee Nam
  • James Nares
  • Paul Pfeiffer
  • Tabita Rezaire
  • Michal Rovner
  • Jason Salavon
  • Elias Sime
  • Skawennati
  • Penelope Umbrico
  • Robert Wilson

About the Foundation

The Carl & Marilynn Thoma Foundation is a grantmaking and art-collecting organization based in the Southwest U.S., with a mission to recognize the power of the arts to challenge and shift perceptions, spark creativity and connect people across cultures. The Thoma Foundation lends and exhibits artworks from its collection to support pivotal initiatives in the arts. A portion of the Thoma Foundation’s collection is dedicated to Digital and Electronic Art. Comprising over 300 artworks in this category, the collection encompasses historic computer artworks from the 1960s through 2022. 

Exhibition Support

Support for this exhibition is generously provided by:

  • Wege Foundation
  • Michigan Arts and Culture Council
  • National Endowment for the Arts
  • James and Mary Nelson
  • Greenleaf Trust
  • brightly
  • Haworth Helps
  • Dirk and June Hoffius
  • Kate Kesteloot Scarbrough

Additional support provided by the GRAM Exhibition Society.