Artists: A / A (Germany), Banz & Bowinkel (Germany), Scott Benesiinaabandan (Canada), Julian Bonequi (Mexico), Paloma Dawkins (Canada), Claudia Hart (USA), Jakob Kudsk Steensen (Denmark/USA)
Curators: Erandy Vergara and Tina Sauerlaender
Our future is constantly redefined and renegotiated in both real and virtual spaces in times of political tension between communities, countries, and cultures. Curiosity and the spirit of discovery juxtapose resentments and fear towards the yet unknown or the so-called Other. Yet the Other struggles to create spaces and to envision a future she/he is actively a part of.
Seven artists from different geographic locations and backgrounds discuss worldviews in utopian or apocalyptic, cultural or natural contexts in their virtual artworks. They are hypothetical imaginations that reflect about possible states for worlds. Together, they ask what is the future we would like to live in and how can we get there? They call us to rethink the present in order to envision the future.
The artists take us to parallel worlds: apocalytpic moments (A / A, Germany); archipelagos removed from physical laws (Banz & Bowinkel, Germany); native Canadian history and future visions (Scott Benesiinaabandan, Canada); human birth and death on Earth and on Mars (Julian Bonequi, Mexico); journey into the fabled unknown (Paloma Dawkins, Canada); liminal and mythological wonderlands (Claudia Hart, USA); tourism and technology facing climate change (Jakob Kudsk Steensen, Denmark/USA). All artists use Virtual Reality, the new medium in art, as their tool of expression. This medium creates a blank space for new visions. In virtual reality, the viewers are in the center and surrounded entirely. They decide where to look and where to go; they co-shape the world they are in. Viewers are assigned the active role of the user. Just like the virtual artwork is complete through the actions of the users, these users are also are able to rethink and reshape their own physical reality.
This selection of current VR projects combines the passion and expertise of two curators: Erandy Vergara's engagement with postcolonial and feminist perspectives on media art and theory (Mexico/Montreal) and Tina Sauerlaender's curatorial engagement with digital technologies and Virtual Reality (Berlin).
Invited by the Goethe-Institut and Studio XX in Montréal, they developed the concept for their exhibition series “Critical Approaches in Virtual Reality Art”, where this exhibition Envisioning the Future is part of.
October 24 to 28, 2018 at Halcyon Arts Lab, Washington D.C