Between Realities – Five contemporary artists
Project rooms, Färgfabriken
Curator Björn Norberg
Participating artists: Anna Uddenberg, Wendy McMurdo, Jacob Kirkegaard, Katja Novitskova, Julius von Bismarck
Five contemporary artists participate in the exhibition Between Realities, and in different ways, focus upon what it entails to be human in a rapidly changing world, where technology is perpetually altering our behaviours and our perceptions of our existence.
Naturally, it is difficult to fully grasp and portray what digitalization will mean for our lives and societies. The constantly connected world creates exciting possibilities as well as practical and philosophical challenges. Is it accurate to say that digitalization alters our perception and that we thus experience the world through a deceptive filter that amplifies, reduces and ultimately distorts? If so, what does that mean? Between Realities is curated by Björn Norberg, a curator, writer and musician based in Sweden.
The work Journey of Self Discovery by Anna Uddenberg (b. 1982), revolves around themes such as commercialism, consumption, feminism, body fixation, identity and the creation of the self-image. The smartphone camera is a crucial tool in the creation of the image of ourselves that we wish to project, where the “selfie” is one of the most common motifs in social media. Here, the camera is used to portray our bodies, often as a means to achieve social affirmation and acceptance.
Wendy McMurdo (b. 1962) has in many of her projects focused upon questions that deal with computers, children and education. McMurdo has visited schools and studied how pupils use computers and especially how they play computer games. How will the fact that children today spend a significant portion of their time in virtual worlds, such as Minecraft, affect them?
In the project Indeterminate Objects (Classrooms), the artist investigates the presence of digital visualizations in the daily life of children. McMurdo has photographed classrooms with classic, Victorian interiors and then added digital animations to them.
In Indeterminate Objects (Chatroom), she has extracted conversations from chatrooms in the computer game Minecraft. The chat adds another layer to the actions in the game and links the players, the fiction and the virtual together.
Installation from Between Realities 2018: Wendy McMurdo, Indeterminate Objects (Chatroom) 2018 & Indeterminate Objects (Classrooms), 2017. Photo by: Karin Björkquist
Jacob Kirkegaard (b. 1975) participates with the video work Stigma, recorded at four different sites nearby Fukushima, after the nuclear disaster in 2011. Stigma partly follows an artistic tradition of nature descriptions, but is multi-layered and moves in between dimensions. With the help of highly sensitive microphones, Kirkegaard has recorded sounds that you cannot hear with the human ear.
The sounds change the perception and experience of the landscape and open up for new interpretations. Since the piece was recorded in Fukushima, it is easy to draw connections between the soundtrack and the radioactivity. The radiation is always there but it cannot be seen with the naked eye. Stigma also prompts a discussion on the relationship between civilization, nature and humanity.
Installation from Between Realities 2018: Jacob Kirkegaard, Stigma, 2014, Fukushima. Photo by: Karin Björkquist
In Mamaroo (smouldering brain, growth potential), Katja Novitskova (b. 1984) seems to tell us about a world where robots and cyborgs have replaced humans. The larger robot is nursing small robotic bugs with tender love and care.
Novitskova works within a high-tech aesthetics. In her works, the viewer can find both a fascination for technology and a dystopian foreboding of where the development within artificial intelligence might lead.
Or in a less dystopian way of putting it: if humans are replaced by machines and if planet Earth then becomes a better place for all other living beings, and if the creatures that populate Earth live happy lives – the future might mean the end of humanity, but not necessarily the end of the world. This may be the future where the work Mars Potential (marabou) belongs, where other planets might be an option if Earth is not anymore.
From the left: Katja Novitskova, Mars Potential (marabou), 2015, Katja Novitskova, Mamaroo (smoldering brain, growth potential) 2018 & Julius von Bismarck, Unfall am Mittelspunkt Deutschlands #1, 2013. Bild av: Karin Björkquist
Julius von Bismarck
In the geographical centre of Germany there is a linden tree marking the location. One morning in April 2013, an accident was reported. A black VW Golf had crashed into the tree. The accident confused the police. There were no traces in the surrounding landscape that indicated where the car had come from. Finally, after some detective work, it became clear that the car must have crashed somewhere else and had then been transported to the site.
The accident was arranged by artist Julius von Bismarck (b.1984). With humour and wit, he challenges our perception and understanding of images and reality. In Unfall am Mittelpunkt Deutschlands #1, he plants a fiction that sneaks into media and police reports to become a part of reality; a method frequently used by the artist.
Julius von Bismarck,Unfall am Mittelspunkt Deutschlands #1, 2013.
Video about the exhibition and interviews, created by HodgeArts:
The exhibition Between Realities is a collaboration between Färgfabriken and Goethe-Institut Schweden and part of the project Drone Dancing.
Drone Dancing is a multi-format social art event exploring the technological development and its impact on humanity’s present and future. The project consists of two exhibitions that will be presented at Färgfabriken during the fall of 2018, Drone Visions and Between Realities. The exhibitions use two separate curatorial methods to demonstrate the possible effect technology will have on the future society.