The title of Julia Weißenberg’s (*1982 Bergisch Gladbach, lives in Cologne) video, shown in the series ‘Room D: Digital Projects’ in August 2018, suggests⎯as regards its subject matter⎯a refreshing contrast to the midsummer temperatures. The film Snowstorm (2017) was entitled after the painting Snow Storm⎯Steam-Boat off a Harbour’s Mouth that the English romanticist Joseph Mallord William Turner completed in 1842. Only the film’s subject matter is the memorization of binary numbers staged as a strongly emotional effort, as well as to contrast digital aesthetic with the most traditional of all artistic media: painting.
Turner’s painting depicts a steam boat that got into a heavy, blustering snow storm. The⎯at the time⎯new technology of steam navigation is thus juxtaposed with a primal force of nature in the medium of painting. The digital photograph of an art print of this painting provides the ‘raw material’ for Weißenberg’s video. The binary codes the print is based on, serve in turn as material for a memory test in memory sports. The competitor Cornelia Beddies⎯the protagonist is introduced by this name in the preceding introduction⎯is one of the world’s best competitors in memory sport. The memorisation of binary numbers is said to be her favourite discipline.
Weißenberg’s video achieves a material doubling: It shows an art print as a digital image, the material it emerged from and in addition, the numeric information that constitutes its basis. By using the term ‘snowfall’, it is also referred to the white noise or rather the image noise of analogue video or television, hence the random pixel pattern of an anachronistic technology that occurs for example when the antenna of a TV set does not receive a signal. And it is thus pointed at an in-between within the field of tension between painting and digital image.
During the memory test, that is presented in a matter-of-fact and documentary manner, the camera captures image variations of Turner’s painting. The video ends at the Tate Britain in London, where the original of Snow Storm – Steam-Boat off a Harbour’s Mouth can be found. In Turner’s visual language that offers a dematerialization of the representational elements, the pigments appear to bluster and whirl. Julia Weißenberg’s video on the other hand, is generated from the rationally visualized digits of a binary sequence. She raises the question as to the image in a time, in which ‘the digital’ already seems to have surpassed ‘the analogue’ in everyday life.
Julia Weißenberg (*1982 Bergisch Gladbach, lives in Cologne) studied Media Art at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne and Communications Design at the University of Applied Sciences Düsseldorf. She received numerous awards and scholarships, e.g. the Promotional Prize of the NRW Competition at the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen (2018), the 25th Bremen Award for Video Art (2017) and the Chargesheimer Scholarship for Media Arts of the City of Cologne (2014). Her works were presented in solo exhibitions, e.g. at the Goethe Institute Beijing (2017), Matjö, Cologne (2016) and Total, Melbourne (2015). Among others, she took part in group exhibitions like “The City intrudes the House“, Museum of Modern Art, Moscow / Simultanhalle, Cologne (2017), “Mies van der Rohe. The MoMA Collages“, Ludwig Forum, Aachen (2016) and “Pavillon“, Villa Romana, Florence (2016).
With the new series “Room D: Digital Projects”, the Künstlerhaus as a Hall for Art & Media complements its program and offers the visitors insights into the practice of young positions on media art. Although designed as an open format, the works shown from May to September 2018 are mainly based on keywords such as “moving image” and the “digital”.