Re-start – Vernissage

Re-start is an international artistic reaction to the global pandemic, created in a virtual realm.The exhibition features seminal pioneers in Digital art from 3 continents as well as emerging artists. The creators, from Shanghai,Munich, Berlin, Vienna, New York and Los Angeles, examine in a digital form what unites and affects us all across borders. Re-start is a return to look anew at issues of identity, ecology, and failed empires in a rapidly changing reality. The exhibition will take place in Mozilla Hubs. It is accessible by PC, VR and mobile devices.
Enter exhibition >>

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, our faces and bodies are on display in unprecedented ways. Tamiko Thiel and Martina Menegon explore questions of identity and our obsession with redefining the self. Digital art pioneer artist Tamiko Thiel and /p rendered deepfake AI videos from single photos of participants. The visitors‘ faces were mapped to videos of prominent public figures and then displayed on a variety of video screens. The visitor is confronted with a very personal encounter of how the most intimate and yet public part of the self, the face and the emotions it expresses, can easily be manipulated and placed in contexts out of their control.

Artists Vivan Sundaram,one of the seminal pioneers of media art (Delhi) and Shi Zheng (Shanghai and NY) playfully challenge us to rethink our assumptions about our place in relation to the natural world. The artists examine the effects of urbanization on ecology, through the eyes of latent learning with AI’s and computers in Mr. Shi’s work, and through the experiences of Indian waste pickers in Mr. Sundaram’s. Both works prompt the viewer to reflect on questions of nature and natural beauty. As Mr. Sundaram says: “It’s a huge industry that is part of our landscape. You can’t wish it away, just as you can’t wish away the poor. The urban middle upper class, rather than turn away from the garbage they generate, must face the reality of the people outside their gated colonies.”

Failed Empires
Digital artists Miao Xiaochun, Zhou Xiaohu, Claudia Hart and Tim Deussen look at the passages of time and history through the lens of the canon of western art history and literature. These reflections pose dark questions about why history repeats itself and whether humanity can learn from its repeated mistakes.

Nancy Baker Cahill’s augmented reality sonorous drawing piece Liberty Bell draws further attention to the inequalities of historical notions of the concept of liberty. Although Ms. Baker Cahill’s artwork lives at the vibrant intersection of public art, social consciousness and tech. Ms. Baker Cahill’s work examines the evolution and transformation of liberty over time into the complex reality we face today.

Tim Deussen gives voice to the German poet Jurgen Fuchs, whose personal history was interrupted by being imprisoned in solitary confinement by the Stasi. This live VR reading in the poet’s virtual prison celebrates the resiliency of the human spirit in the face of (now failed) repressive regimes.

Zhou Xiaohu is a pioneer of new media art based in Shanghai. Mr. Zhou’s 3D animation “The Garden of Forking Paths” pays tribute to the analysis of the passage of history made by the great Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges. “The Garden of Forking Paths” is about the history of information transmission in geographical conflicts. The videos, which are presented as an installation, also explore the history of people’s endless failure to succeed in navigating the maze of time.

Claudia Hart is considered an early innovator in virtual imaging, using 3D animation to make media installations and projections, then later as they were invented, other forms of VR, and AR. A Doll’s House XR, produced for this exhibition, is based on the philosophical idea of the “eternal return” – the notion that history endlessly renews itself through a process of decadence, decay
and rebirth. The setting of the artwork takes place in the Paulwall House. This 19th century home of a Detroit industrialist now standing in ruins. Ms. Hart creates a new type of visual language for decay by repurposing mathematical cycles. Signs and symbols of fallen empires and corporations are fused into a personified flickering wallpaper. These images are further combined with short aphorisms inspired by Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. The effects of these flashing animations is a visual cacophony at once disorienting and paradoxically trance inducing. The music was composed by Kurt Hentschlaeger.

Enter exhibition >>

Featuring artists:

Claudia Hart

Tamiko Thiel

Nancy Baker Cahill

Vivian Sundarum

Zhou Xiaohu

Miao Xiaochun

Tim Deussen

Shi Zheng

Martina Menegon