The Power of Digital Art. ‘reflecting on networks’ at km temporaer

Article by Angela Connor // Oct. 26, 2012

Accessible to anyone with a computer and Internet connection, digital art has become a global experience, capable of liberating individuals from the elitist system of art production and consumption through its mass distribution and participatory models. Blurring the boundary between artist and viewer, collaboration and inclusive actions became key components at km temporaer last weekend, where curators Elisa R. Linn and Lennart Wolff engaged the public in their exhibition reflecting on networks/artistic strategies using the web. Housed in a dilapidated building near a prominent section of the remaining Berlin Wall, the works were spread over eight rooms with a mixture of video installation, digital college, performance, live video capture and digital drawing.

Eleven artists were invited to participate in the exhibition that examined how artists in the 21st Century are using the Internet to produce and distribute artworks. By employing the Internet as their tool, whether as a means of communication, research or as an interactive platform these artists critiqued the social and political consequences that digital technology has on popular culture. Narrating a range of different viewpoints, the artists examined issues of authorship, censorship, privacy and virtual identities.

With several million knowledge requests per day, Google’s search engine has radically transformed the way we obtain, collect and process information. Resembling a headstone peacefully resting in the gallery space, Stefan Riebel’s work Before Google Memorial is a humorous comment on our dependence on Google for our everyday existence. Printed on mass and allowing the audience to take copies of the work for free, the work pays homage to the mass consumption and sharing capabilities of the Internet.

The massive impact that Google has had on information retrieval is seen through Sebastian Schmieg’s video installation “Search by Image”. His work critiques the way knowledge is navigated and filtered to the public via institutions and commercially driven corporations. Employing a feature of Google’s called “Search by Image”, Schmieg began by uploading an image and then using the search results to continue his investigation by following the pathways of how Google’s search engine filters information. Displaying the search results in chronological order and in rapid concession, the work becomes a metaphor for popular culture’s need for instant gratification of electronic information.

Niko Princen’s video installation “Starry Nights” draws attention to how easily meanings and contexts of images can be transferred and transformed on the Internet. Sourcing from the Internet the iconic photograph by Peter Leibing of East German Soldier Conrad Schumann leaping over the Berlin Wall, Princen then uses the image to find other websites that also use the same image but in a different context. Aligning the image on the digital screen, and then placing the sources for the images beside the work, Princen examines the ease and speed of digital technology to cut and paste images.

Digital artists in the 21st Century are finding themselves at the forefront of creative experiments. As digital technology continues to develop, so do the opportunities for greater collaboration and understanding among cultures. No longer defined by physical and geographic boundaries, Navid Tschopp’s live performance “Third Space” attempts to connect eastern and the western cultures across two living rooms. Creating a unique (and socially awkward) experience for the viewer, individuals were encouraged to participate in a setting where the viewer knew none of the participants on the other side of the screen. By allowing the audience to play a part in the creation cycle, the line between creator and consumer becomes blurred, thereby bringing into question issues of authorship. With rapid advancements in technology creating new environments of exchange and information, digital art has the power to play an influential role in the restructuring of cultural exchange.

Exhibiting Artists include Navid Tschopp, Stefan Riebel, Fayçal Baghriche, Johannes P. Osterhoff, Aram Bartholl, Florian Kuhlmann, Karl Heinz Jeron, Sebastian Schmieg, Thomas Lindenberg, Karen Eliot and Niko Princen.

Berlin Art Link is a sponsor of this event


Additional Information

Exhibition: Oct. 19 – Nov. 11, 2012
Opening Hours: Wed. – Frid. 4-7pm; Sat. – Sun. 12-7pm
Kremmener Str 8a (click here for map)

Artist Talks:
Fayçal Baghriche and Navid Tschopp
Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012; 4pm

Johannes P. Osterhoff and Sebastian Schmieg
Florian Kuhlmann
Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012; 4pm

“9to5” by Karl Heinz Jeron
Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012; 4pm

BAL “On the Road Series” Video Interview with Fayçal Baghriche:

“Time and Openness”: BAL Interview with Aram Bartholl:

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