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Permanent Distraction is the first solo exhibition of Rafaël Rozendaal’s work in the UK and his most expansive installation to date.

Entry is free, but we ask that you book a timed ticket before visiting.

The exhibition will present the most extensive installation of Rozendaal’s websites series in a new immersive environment. Existing and newly produced websites will come together in a commissioned, site-specific, immersive installation. The websites will be shown as twelve, floor to ceiling projections, filling the space with constantly generating abstract colour, movement and gesture.

Permanent Distraction forces us to confront the slippage between our physical and digital realities, bringing bodies physically into the space of the internet. Rozendaal pushes us to think about physical interaction with the internet, confronting what we think of as real, and what IRL (in real life) means when we now spend so much of our lives online.

Rozendaal’s websites have distinctive qualities unlike any other art medium, they are publicly accessible, unique objects that exist all over the world simultaneously. In the gallery or on an iPhone screen, they are one and the same, websites ever changing and generating, sometimes featuring and projecting out large in the gallery.

The exhibition will also feature everything I eat I tweet, a Twitter stream that Rozendaal has been running since 2008, where he tweets everything he eats. The work plays on the growing invasion of social media with the banality of most interactions. It is a live diary process, played out in public.

We commissioned a series of online works in the run up to the exhibition, which you can view here.

“We are thrilled to finally be able to bring Rafaël’s incredible work to Sheffield and a new audience in the UK. It holds a particular resonance in this moment of constant shifting, opening up dialogue into a newly reinvigorated digital space.”

Angelica Sule, Site Gallery Programme Director

Permanent Distraction will be supported by an expansive public programme, including skills-based workshops, tutorials with Rafaël Rozendaal, a music collaboration with artists Mark Fell and Rian Treanor and a collaboration with music, film and digital media festival Sensoria.

More information on the public programme will be available soon.

Artists

Rafaël Rozendaal is a Dutch-Brazillian visual artist who uses the internet as his canvas. Since 1999 Rozendaal has been making websites as artworks, unique abstract compositions coded with ever generating algorithms. His websites attract 40 million visits per year. He also creates installations, tapestries, lenticulars, haiku, lectures, and a podcast.

He’s exhibited in Times Square, and Centre Pompidou, Valencia Biennial, Casa Franca Brasil Rio, TSCA Gallery Tokyo, Seoul Art Square and Stedelijk Museum amongst others.

Rozendaal is a pioneer in the idea of collecting digital art in the form of websites. Since first creating these digital works, they have been sold to collectors who become the owners via a dedicated domain name. His early and ongoing digital sales served as a precursor to NFTs, predicting the idea of digital art collecting. Now Rozendaal uses sustainable hosts Artblocks to produce NFTs, in particular a series that has gone on  raise over $400K for arts and tech organisation Rhizome.

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