In autumn 2018, the Künstlerhaus, Halle für Kunst & Medien will address the immersion in artificial worlds. Considering past, as well as present approaches, “Artificial Paradise? Immersion in Space and Time” will bring together recent immersive works by twelve international artists with works newly commissioned for the exhibition.
The immersion in an image, in its sphere of imagination, is a concern that can be traced far back in art history. Currently, it is mainly the latest technologies of virtual reality that provide access to alternative realities. However, which aspects are crucial for young artists today, in order to deal with immersion? How are these recently created artificial worlds constructed? What were the artistic approaches of the recent past to break down the borders between factual reality and virtual space?
The exhibition focuses particularly on the threshold of submersion into artificially created worlds. Whereas the older genre of landscape painting predominantly offered the imaginary participation in an illusionistic, idealistic nature, the new virtual reality works aim at a⎯preferably⎯complete absorption of the viewer. The submersion into artificial surroundings can be accomplished literally by way of spatial installations and environments with sounds. Furthermore, the artistic discussion of the relationship between digital and analogue aspects, as well as the immersive use of media for military and political strategies will be the subject of the exhibition.
Especially the newly commissioned works that refer to the Künstlerhaus and its elegant architecture will offer visitors the possibility to confront their experiences in the factual space with those in the virtual space. The boundary between the plane image surface and the illusionistic three-dimensionality also becomes evident in the lenticular prints featured in the exhibition. The flip effect of the lenticular printed images generates an alternative view when the image is seen from a different angle and gives thus the impression of movement and three-dimensionality.
The Künstlerhaus, Halle für Kunst & Medien consequently follows its objectives, hence it addresses the current way media technologies are dealt with in art. In this panorama of artificial worlds of the recent years, the thresholds of transition are graspable on various levels. However, can the belief in progress that is connected with technological development lead to paradisiacal conditions? Or do these virtually perfect worlds also evoke feelings of uncertainty and numbness? The elevation of the beautiful to the sublime, as it had been linked especially to romantic landscape painting, apparently involves also horror and fear due to its unattainability and perfection. Moreover, the theory of the “uncanny valley” is based on the fact that artificially created bodies and figures of a certain degree of anthropomorphic resemblance can drastically lose credibility in the eye of the viewer. Too real seems to be unsettling.
“Artificial Paradise? Immersion in Space and Time” wants to stimulate the visitors’ conjectures and speculations regarding future artificial worlds. And thus, the exhibition also poses the question, how future artificial paradises could look like.