The Gallery Spaces Program was successfully established to bring international galleries and collections on digital art to the Ars Electronica Festival — and 2020 is no exception. Not content with showing digital art represented by galleries, it is especially concerned with the changing conditions of creating and marketing art under digitalisation, which are now more relevant than ever.
In the months prior to the festival, societies around the world changed drastically under the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The crisis has led to an explosion in the usage of digital technologies. The advantages provided by these tools are already visible in online exhibitions and in virtual and augmented reality. There are countless ways in which the creation and presentation of connected, interactive and web-based art has been investigated and experienced. The contemporary art world is now rushing to adapt to an unprecedented situation that compels everyone to think beyond the physical space, and to question how we perceive the artwork as an object. There is a real opportunity to conceive of exhibitions as cultural events to be experienced both online and offline, where the content is not merely documentation, but an integral part of the curatorial endeavour.
Hence, Ars Electronica invites galleries from all over the world to participate in this far-reaching online program, and to connect within the Ars Electronica Gallery Spaces Garden — a platform to discuss new tools and technologies, which result in a multiplicity of novel approaches, methods and developments. Due to its continuous work and experience in the production and presentation of media art and digital art since 1979, Ars Electronica is the ideal environment for an exchange among collectors, exhibitors, artists and other parties involved or interested in the field.
Garden del Rio Grande pays homage to the geographic region around the Rio Grande River, which runs from central Colorado along the U.S./Mexico border to the Gulf of Mexico. Our garden contemplates how technology can reconnect us to the land and amplify indigenous voices, while questioning to what extent can art and design fortify sustainable ecologies. Through emerging technology we seek to reverse-engineer the past in order to reimagine the future.
sound:frame / Eva Fischer (AT), Marijn Bril (NL), Angie Pohl (AT)
sound:frame together with Pausanio presents the Area for Virtual Art – an online platform for digital art and virtual formats. Discover current artistic approaches in virtual exhibitions and meet people in discussion programs and live events to exchange thoughts and create new ideas and concepts. The Area for Virtual Art develops into an international hub, giving a platform to current digital art forms and connecting people all over the world.
Paulina Bebecka – Postmasters Gallery, PostmastersROMA, Rome (IT)
In the current uncertain climate of physical disconnection, hyper digital connection and distortion of life as we know it, I wanted to express that humanity is still at the very core of our increasingly technological experience on earth. The chosen artists bring about an examination of reality and the need to cherish our humanity through various digital media, such as artificial intelligence, 3D scanning, 3D gaming software, generative 360 WebXR animation, drones, and techno.
Garage Museum of Contemporary Art / Nikita Nechaev, Moscow (RU)
Works and practices of several artists and collectives, that participate in Garage Digital program, reflect on the different types of networks, infrastructures, ecologies and algorithms, and pose questions of the possible tactics and strategies to reassemble these systems with new types of communities, modes of rationality and production in mind —cunning, poetic, speculative and emergent.
re.riddle, California, San Francisco (US)
re.riddle presents unique programming showcased in site-specific exhibitions and pop-up events worldwide. The itinerant gallery curates socially engaging and multidisciplinary exhibitions of contemporary art. Its mission is to contribute to the discourse on contemporary art in thought provoking and playfully subversive ways. Via new modes of production, reception and consumption, re.riddle places an emphasis on the whimsical, in hopes that art continues to arouse curiosity and promote an awareness of its profound impact on our daily surroundings and lives.
CADAF (The Contemporary and Digital Art Fair) (US)
The Contemporary and Digital Art Fair is honored to present Anne Spalter and Sofia Crespo, two female artists working with AI technology. Spalter and Crespo explore current socio-economic issues, including COVID19 and ecological uncertainty, in their work. Both artists exhibited their work at CADAF Online, which took place June 25-28, 2020. Artificial Seascapes reflects on the impact humans and technology have on the environment and explores new ways to visualize it.
KÖNIG GALERIE – Berlin / Tokyo / London / Digital
World Wide Webb by the British artist Thomas Webb is a virtual world the digital visitor enters through the browser on a smartphone. It is a multiplayer video game, a digital exhibition space and a world full of art and characters the visitor is invited to interact with. Webb recreates the social spontaneity of the world pre-Covid-19. He built a virtual world for new media artists to share their thoughts on what technology is and could be. The visitor meets AI avatars designed by Webb, to reflect the human nature and to question the use of technology in the digital age. Net art is presented in its genuine medium, the digital realm, where video art is also easily accessible.
Deutsche Telekom AG, Bonn (DE)
A 3D tour of an exhibition can never convey the sensual presence and aesthetic power of its works of art. The physical presence in a real exhibition space, the complexity of looking and the experiencing the environment, cannot yet be conveyed through digital technology. Such a tour, however, can be an essential tool in documenting past events, and it serve as an additional platform for mediating content.
VENT gallery (AT)
Vast amounts of pictures, sounds, videos and 3D scans are organized as environments in Rebecca Merlic’s The City as a House, in form of an interactive visual novel. A work about the experiment of a white European 30-year-old heterosexual human living in Tokyo without inhabiting a private apartment over a period of time. A speculative exploration of the possibilities of abolishing known forms of habitation.
.art Domains (UK), Ars Electronica Linz (AT)
Together with Ars Electronica, the team behind .art Domains hopes to open a dialogue with digital artists about the possibilities created by the introduction of new tools for online certification of artworks using the DNS system.
Galeri ODUMIJE, Lagos (NG)
Pandemic-Pandemonium! is a two-part presentation centered on the collective response of Africans living in Africa vis-à-vis current prevalent issues that threaten humankind — racial discrimination, violence against women and the COVID-19 pandemic. Whilst one part makes a statement on the resilience of the human spirit in the face of the deadly coronavirus, the other focuses on the valorization of melanin-rich skin amidst the fatal hostility that accompanies it.
Niio Art (IL), Tel Aviv
Nature Disrupted presents 4 video artworks by Claudia Hart and Marina Zurkow.
PSM Gallery (DE)
Within her body of work, Catherine Biocca frequently shapes environments that insinuate total autonomy from the viewer’s reality. It is almost as if, by visitation, we are actually intruding upon private property or a theater stage, interrupting the very happenings taking place. Her characters, often recognizable as anthropomorphized assemblages, are consistently active and presently conscious within their surroundings.
Eva Papamargariti’s work explores the relationship and construction of the limits between virtual space and material reality, as well as the dynamic dissolution that takes place on the verge of these two “ecosystems.” Her practice delves into issues and themes related to simultaneity, the merging of our surroundings with the virtual, the constant diffusion of fabricated synthetic images that define and fragment our identity as well as the symbiotic procedures and entanglement that take place between humans, nature and technology.
LIUSA WANG (FR), Paris
In this video bot., the artist presents a portrait of memory built on a machine’s assumptions of how people would think a machine interprets the mind. He borrows aesthetics from existing role-playing action games such as Mother3, Adventureland, Undertale, and ROM, to create awareness of our world in 2018 – a perhaps slightly dystopian impression – and to introduce a conception of memory that sets itself apart from present understandings.
bitforms gallery, New York (US)
The Ruins is an exhibition that implements still lifes to contemplate the canons of a patriarchal Western civilization: modernist paintings and manifestos of political utopias. Join Hart in an intimate video profile as she discusses the works as meditations on a world in crisis, speaking to an unstable present experienced through the possibility of simulation-technologies that use data to model the crystallization of past, future, and present into a perpetual now.
Carl & Marilynn Thoma Art Foundation, Santa Fe, New Mexico (US)
The Thoma Foundation’s Curator of Digital Art, Jason Foumberg, leads a behind-the-scenes video tour through the Foundation’s Digital & Electronic Art collection, offering personal anecdotes about the artworks that excite him, how the Foundation decides which artworks to collect, and a peek into our public exhibition space and private art storage vault. Foumberg’s lushly illustrated talk is organized around the Ars Electronica 2020 festival theme of Autonomy, especially spotlighting digital artists who use technology to automate creative labor and increase viewer interaction.
Galerie Charlot (FR / IS)
The Paris and Tel Aviv-based Galerie Charlot celebrates its tenth year with an anniversary exhibition in Paris. The curated show features currently represented artists, showing a diversity of approaches to media over several generations.
MAM Mario Mauroner Contemporary Art Vienna (AT)
The focus of Markus Hofer’s exhibition “Visuelle Hypothese” is the process of visual perception, in which our brain is supplied with information about objects visible in space through the retinal and optic nerve, and compares them objects to remembered and memorized objects. It is only by matching our memory to what we have seen that we can recognize an object and determine its function.