(CNN)American-Qatari artist Sophia Al-Maria is preparing for the biggest exhibition of her career.
Her solo show “Black Friday,” which opens at New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art on July 26, will comprise over 100 new videos, screened on a series of broken or rejected consumer electronics.
The title, Al-Maria says, is in part a reference to the American “national holiday of shopping,” but also a nod to the holy nature of Fridays in Islam.
The exhibition “posits the thought that shopping malls have become a kind of replacement for religious structures in our contemporary consumer society,” she says.
Growing up in Qatar provided a unique vantage point from which to witness the rapid evolution of history, in a commercial and technological sense.
In “Black Friday” Al-Maria will show the tangible results of such development; the physical waste produced by a society obsessed with the latest electronic gadget. This phenomenon of fervent consumerism also feeds into our perception of what constitutes a piece of art.
“The thing is that people’s concept of art is still very much object based,” she explains, “So even with a video piece, people will expect there to be something to play it on.”
While much time is spent thinking of digital art as forward thinking and innovative, the cost of this innovation may be a reduced life span for the artworks, which have used the technological tools available to them in their time.
As Al-Maria puts it: “There’s planned obsolescence in the devices, so there’s planned obsolescence in the art.
“There’s so much work lost. It’s kind of tragic really.”