VR art exhibition on Speculative Species at Espronceda, Barcelona

SPECULATIVE SPECIES - VR Art in the Age of the Anthropocene

Artists: Bianca Kennedy & The Swan Collective (DE), Juan Le Parc (ARG/FR), Jakob Kudsk Steensen (DK/US), Lara Torrance (UK/US)

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Curators: Tina Sauerlaender & Peggy Schoenegge (DE) and Erandy Vergara (MX/CAN)

At: Espronceda, Center for Art & Culture, Carrer D'Espronceda 326 Nave 4,5 & 10
08027 Barcelona, Spain

Opening & Artist Talk & Panel Discussion: June 20, 2019, 7 pm

Duration: June 20 to 29, 2019

In the course of industrialisation, urbanisation and technolisation, human’s impact on the environment is increasing. The use and destruction of nature and its resources impairs the ecosystem, causing damage such as the hole in the ozone layer, climate change, the endangerment and extinction of various species. New procedures make it even possible to change DNA, which equally affects the whole system. All these human interventions inevitably affect global ecology and its creatures. Mankind has never been perceived as such an influencing factor for the environment. Today’s scientists and thinkers propose a new epoch, the Anthropocene, that describes and deals with the man-made changes, speaking from a geology of humankind.

Art as a mirror of current affairs also deals with these issues and uses new technologies such as VR. Using the possibilities of the virtual space as a room for experiments, artists reflect and speculate on characteristics and future developments of this new era of human interference with the environment and its creatures. They ask about the development of flora and fauna and how living conditions of different terrestrial species change. What kind of interrelation between humans and their environment will occur? The artists engage with the interconnections between humans and their fellow living creatures today and in speculative futuristic settings. This discussion/debate/speculative approach is transferred into the virtual space, in which the visitor immerses into.

Bianca Kennedy and The Swan Collective propose insects as alternative nutrition causing future genetic modifications. Juan Le Parc reveals an ancient temple built with meat products as a theatrical animal tragedy to discuss the duality of mass consumption and religious symbolism. With RE-ANIMATED Jakob Kudsk Steensen resurrects an extinct bird from recordings of its mating call in a world inhabited by algorithmically grown digital plants. Lara Torrance draws attention to endangered species in New England by placing their glassy versions into the virtual space.

Invited by the Goethe-Institut and Studio XX in Montréal, Erandy Vergara and Tina Sauerlaender developed the concept of their exhibition series Critical Approaches in Virtual Reality Art where this exhibition is part of. This series 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). Together with peer to space’s curator Peggy Schoenegge, they curate the exhibition SPECULATIVE SPECIES.

Image: Jakob Kudsk Steensen, Re-Animated, 2018, screenshot of VR experience © the artist

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