A BEATING HEART | BERLIN
EXPANDED.ART presents the group exhibition A BEATING HEART. FEMALE PIONEERS OF DIGITAL ART curated by Anika Meier on view at the gallery in Berlin.
The exhibition explores how female artists at the forefront of digital art approach the male-dominated field in a variety of mediums such as AI, AR, video, poetry, and sculpture. 16 artists delve into our relationship with technology, dissolve the boundaries of the female body, deal with young femininity and the burden of its expectations, draw a portrait of the collision of committed love, exhaustion, and desire, and ask us to consider what we truly value.
THE BODY AND THE BURDEN
THE SEASONS by Claudia Hart portrays a room in which a slowly evolving sculptural figure gradually transforms. A seated woman in a pose of erotic abandon cycles clockwise on a rotating pedestal. As she cycles, she decomposes, a vine of roses surrounding her, blooming and then fading away. All is in flux, but time seems to stand still, as in life.
It was in 2000, when Tali Hinkis first learned to use After Effects and began to reject linear thinking in her editing, that something clicked. She started considering short videos as drawings or paintings and also incorporating loops into VJ sets. BED, a video of a campy bedspread, is one of those rare videos from that time period that Hinkis managed to digitize and preserve. When she views BED in the present day, Hinkis sees a dark and moody flower contorting itself: a play on young femininity and the burden of its expectations.
ARTIST'S BLOCK by Martina Menegon is a self-portrait created by algorithmically stacking 3D scanned avatars that are able to invade space and become tangible through the intractable experience of Augmented Reality. It is a tongue-in-cheek play on the current state of her personal and artistic life. Further extending the self-portrait, Menegon's current body weight is the price for every edition, and there are as many available editions as her age.
#LORDESS is featured in numerous viral #arthacks by Marjan Moghaddam as part of her GLITCH GODDESS collection and is the third 1 of 1 NFT employing this figure. #Lordess not only glitches conventional humanoid female forms but also the art historic convention of bodies retaining a singular shape, while glitching the side-to-side posing conventions of fashion and contemporary video portraiture.
THIN LACE is a spoken-word poem from Ana María Caballero’s book MAMMAL about the evolution of intimacy in long-term relationships. Written in Caballero's signature, multi-valent style, it paints an honest portrait of the collision of committed love, exhaustion, and desire.
Original marriage certificate of Ania Catherine and Dejha Ti, the artist duo Operator: The institution of marriage historically has been an oppressive institution for women. The artists, who are married to each other and also have a collaborative art practice, consider their inhabitation of marriage to be both practical (1,138 rights are reserved for married couples in the U.S.), and also a durational subversive performance reimagining a traditional institution in a queer and revolutionary way. Ti and Catherine convert something that has been a container for women’s subservience to a foundation for a collaborative life of freedom, creativity, and a platform for their voices and ideas. The title, LET ME CHECK WITH THE WIFE speaks to the mentioning of one’s wife as a performative aspect of a certain genre of cis-heteromasculinity, which reveals itself as such when a woman does it. The collector of LET ME CHECK WITH THE WIFE receives the original physical copy of the artists’ marriage certificate, a digital image file version, as well as MARITAL OBLIGATIONS (a dynamic NFT). The certificate has sensitive information censored for artist and family privacy. Reverse Utility as a hyperbolic flip on the expectation of utility with NFT artworks, and drawing on the concept of marital obligations, the collector will receive direction or might be expected to provide the artists with specific actions or gifts on their anniversary (July 19); this aspect of the artist-collector relationship is managed via a dynamic NFT entitled MARITAL OBLIGATIONS.
Through the fusion of milk and body, shape and container, pixel and shader, LIQUID HARMONY by OONA establishes a bond between the artist and their creative output. This series encompasses two distinct perspectives that add depth to its narrative: a direct gaze at the milk presents a visual register of equality, while a top-down view of OONA situates the audience in a position of power and authority. LIQIUD HARMONY invites viewers on a journey into namelessness, where milk overflows, dissolving boundaries of the female body and illuminating the dynamics of power.
RELATIONSHIP WITH TECHNOLOGY
Addie Wagenknecht's ZOOM PAINTINGS (2019 - ongoing) emerged from her 2015-2017 series DICK PIC, in which she created abstract works of art from images she received via Instagram DMs. Wagenknecht takes small areas from photographs and videos she pulls from online and puts them into the paintings. In this project, instead of Instagram messaging, she works with Zoom calls, Google Hangouts, and other video conferencing tools to build a personalized palette for the paintings that evolve over the course of the pandemic. The artist creates a palette of brushes from each video, which she then uses to make abstract contemporary paintings that mirror the day-to-day plague she sees on her screen.
INFLATABLE METAVERSAL FRIENDS by Anne Spalter delves into our relationship with technology, particularly the screens that dominate much of our modern lives. We spend countless hours interacting with digital devices, creating and consuming content, and forging identities within the virtual realm. This relationship is mirrored in this series of metaversal avatars, which reflect our digital personas back to us. The idea of inflatables symbolizes how we inflate or deflate our personalities, traits, or identities in the digital world. It's a commentary on the fluidity and malleability of our online selves.
Sister Gemini, Carla Gannis’ first performance art avatar, dates from the late 1990s to the early 2000s. First conceived in 1998, this video is from a 2001 Sister Gemini "performance." Sister Gemini is a cyborg, half human, half AI, from "no place" who fictionally breaks into websites, performing with an electronic dulcimer and singing cyber folk ballads.
The precisely engineered 3D laser scanner Sophie Kahn used to create her 3D printed sculpture was never designed to capture the body. Confronted with motion, the software receives conflicting spatial coordinates, and generates a fragmented model. She digitally sculpted the files, before outputting them on industrial 3D printers and hand-painting and finishing them. The process feels almost like sitting for a Victorian-era portrait. The subject has to hold still so as not to blur the scan, and close their eyes to protect them from the laser. An incomplete 3D scan, rotated and viewed from the back, seems like a map of the incompleteness of the camera, or indeed of human vision – a rendering of all the things we can't see in a given moment.
What appears to us as a glitch, Google interprets as the complete truth. Similar to Gretchen Andrew’s physical VISION BOARDS, for which she is known, this NFT GIF causes Gretchen’s work to appear as a top search result for "contemporary art auction record." Knowing that Google registers only the first frame of a GIF, the first of the 255 frames shows Gretchen’s VISION BOARD for sale at Sotheby's auction house, while the remainder presents the viewer with a pretty and pleasant animation in which the growing of plants is a metaphor for financial growth. These GIFs are vectors for her hack. It carries the necessary metadata to infiltrate Google’s artificial intelligence.
MEMENTO MEMORIAE is a media-rich poem by award-winning poet, artist and AI researcher Sasha Stiles, whose explorations of the post/human condition frequently probe the relationship between memory and technology, presenting poetry as an ancient and enduring data storage system. Thematically, the poem ponders the unreliability of humanity as its own narrator while foregrounding the visceral power of words to make us believe.
NULLVOID0 by Chiara Passa is a series of artworks developed from a wide range of technologies based on a real marble sculpture created by Passa in 2017. The four animations explore the theme of emptiness and the potential for creation within it. Designed to shake up the static concept of architecture and place, the animations show geometric projections in continuous transformation, deconstructing and reshaping an extreme and minimalist sculptural surface. As a result, viewers are forced to confront themselves within a fourth digital dimension, a virtual place that nowadays has become intrinsic to our daily lives and is impossible to ignore.
ORIGIN STORIES by Kelly Richardson carries on ideas explored in the artist’s previous works where lost species have taken the form of crystals. It is as though complex life has been transformed into pure carbon, the most concentrated form in the natural world being diamonds. Set adrift amongst the stars, the crystalline debris field reveals the majesty and infinite wealth of our home within the context of the known universe–where as far as humanity has confirmed, Earth is the only known planet to foster life. With monumental efforts to discover life elsewhere, how differently would we value any of the species which we allowed to go extinct today, if they were discovered on another planet? Ultimately, ORIGIN STORIES asks us to consider what it is that we truly value.
Cover image: Tali Hinkis
ARTISTS: Gretchen Andrew, Ana María Caballero, Carla Gannis, Claudia Hart, Tali Hinkis (LoVid), Sophie Kahn, Martina Menegon, Marjan Moghaddam, Oona, Operator, Chiara Passa, Kelly Richardson, Anne Spalter, Sasha Stiles, Addie Wagenknecht, and Kathrin Wessling.
A BEATING HEART. FEMALE PIONEERS OF DIGITAL ART
17 MAY - 4 JUNE
OPENING: 17 MAY | 6-9 PM CEST
Friedrichstraße 67 | 10117 Berlin
Monday - Saturday: 11 AM - 6 PM CEST