Experience Digital Art Projects Echoes from the Future: Speculative Creatures & Post-Human Botanicals
Echoes from the Future: Speculative Creatures & Post-Human Botanicals
About the Exhibition
On View from 29 June – 27 September
Curated by Tina Sauerlaender
Disruptive human activity continues to threaten the Earth’s ecological balances, eradicating biodiversity and our planet’s shared resources. This digital exhibition highlights artists working across diverse media to preserve nature, reveal environmental devastation, and speculate on future life forms. Curator Tina Sauerlaender (peer to space) presents artists Aviv Benn (ISR/UK), Laura Colmenares Guerra (COL/BE), Reiner Maria Matysik (DE), Sarah Oh-Mock (DE), Bianca Shonee Arroyo-Kreimes (CAN), Sabrina Ratté (CAN), Tamiko Thiel and /p (US/DE) in an immersive online exhibition. Echoes from the Future renders current environmental issues visible in virtual reality, inviting audiences into an immersive alternative future for hybrid lifeforms.
Echoes From the Future is part of a series of digital exhibitions created through the MacKenzie Art Gallery’s Digital Exhibitions Toolkit and Art Installation Launcher (DETAIL)—a ongoing resource championing the development of art exhibitions for digital platforms.
This project is made possible by the Canada Council for the Arts Digital Strategy Fund.
Image credit: Screen capture of installation of work by Sabrina Ratté from Echoes from the Future online at MacKenzie.Art, 2023.
Tina Sauerlaender (she/her) is the co-founder and co-director of the exhibition platform and international collective of independent curators, peer to space (since 2010). She has been curating and organizing large-scale group exhibitions like Resonant Realities (Exhibition of the VR ART PRIZE by DKB in Cooperation with CAA Berlin, Haus am Lützowplatz, Berlin, 2021), The Unframed World. Virtual Reality as Artistic Medium for the 21st Century (HEK Basel, 2017), or initiated and co-curated SPECULATIVE CULTURES. A Virtual Reality Art Exhibition (Kellen Gallery, Parsons/The New School, New York, 2019). She focuses on the impact of the digital and the internet on individual environments and society, on virtual reality in visual arts, and on exhibition making in virtual realms. She is also the artistic director of the VR ART PRIZE by DKB in Cooperation with CAA Berlin. She is co-founder & CEO of Radiance VR (since 2017), an international online platform and research database for virtual reality experiences in visual arts that includes the Radiance VR App for VR Art for Meta Quest headsets.
She holds a PhD from The University of Arts, Linz, Austria. The title of her dissertation is PERFORMING IDENTITIES. Self-Representation in Art from the Renaissance to Virtual Worlds. In conjunction with her PhD she curated the online exhibition performingidentities.net. She is a lecturer for Digital Art History at the University of Applied Sciences in Bielefeld, Germany. She gave talks on Virtual Reality & Art at re:publica (Berlin), ZKM (Karlsruhe), New Inc (New York), Kunsthalle (Munich), University of Applied Arts (Vienna), Digifest (Toronto), Technical University (Prague) or Roehrs & Boetsch (Zurich).
About the Artists
Bianca Shonee Arroyo-Kreimes
Bianca Shonee Arroyo-Kreimes (she/her) is a Montreal-based Costa Rican-Canadian digital media artist. Growing up on the edge of a rainforest nourishes her creative practice as her work strives to resurrect the meaning of nature’s place in her own life now as both an urbanite and multidisciplinary artist. Within the virtual worlds she creates, 3D embodiments of organisms borrow shapes, colours, and stories from plants and animals within our own world, while remaining singular. This conscious decision is intended to inspire a newly discovered appreciation of the endangered, non-human world that humanity often takes for granted as her portrayals seek to embody humankind’s seemingly objective and narrow misunderstanding of nature in this time of ecological crisis.
Aviv Benn’s (she/her) paintings are a visual universe starring symbolic archetypes that pop up and reappear time and again, and together formulate the dreamlike world they inhabit. These colorful figures take over the entire painterly space, encompassing their surroundings, dissolving and merging, floating in an unknown limbo. Benn views painting as an act of compulsion and a ritualistic repetition of images, motifs, and ornaments. Repeating the same imagery over numerous canvases, informs a narrative that stretches beyond the boundaries of a singular artwork; new relationships are woven together to build a vivid myth throughout her work.
Laura Colmenares Guerra
Laura Colmenares Guerra (she/her) is a Colombian artist based in Brussels. She has a transversal research-based practice that implies long-term processes of creation. Her work explores the impairment between contemporary western societies and the living ecosystems, the environment and the inhabitants of the planet. This questioning drives her to conceive settings that relate to the politics of landscape and the notions of territory. She explores the constructions of the concepts of nature and natural and language as a foundation medium for reality.
Reiner Maria Matysik
The artist Reiner Maria Matysik (he/him) builds bridges between scientific research and artistic activity. He asks about the possibilities and consequences of evolution as well as human influence on it. His “bionts” are based on Matysik’s assumption that humans will and should actively intervene in evolutionary events. The unbelievable speed of development in genetic engineering and molecular biology already suggests that the future will require completely new thought processes. Here, above all, the human claim to dominance is at stake.
Sarah Oh-Mock’s (she/her) surrealist video works, installations, objects, photographs, and drawings address the relationships of culture, artificiality of urban places, nature and the unconscious. Her works have been shown at numerous exhibitions and festivals in Germany and abroad, for example the Torrance Art Museum Los Angeles, the Musée Boribana in Dakar, Senegal, in the Bundeskunsthalle Bonn, Dokfest Kassel, Athens Video Art Festival, Haus der Kulturen der Welt Berlin, Art Space One, Seoul. Sarah Oh-Mock has been awarded numerous prizes and grants, including a scholarship from the German Artists’ Association.
Sabrina Ratté’s (she/her) practice focuses on the multiple manifestations of the digital image: analog video, 3D animation, photography, printing, sculpture, virtual reality and installation. The constant integration of new techniques allows her to explore the themes that run through her work in ever-changing forms: the influence of architecture and the digital environment on our perception of the world, the relationship we have with the virtual aspect of existence, the fusion between technology and the organic world. Her works are situated halfway between abstraction and figurative, landscape and architecture, and on the thin line that separates the real from the virtual.
Tamiko Thiel and /p
Tamiko Thiel (she/her) was awarded the 2018 SAT Montreal Visionary Pioneer Award for over 35 years of politically and socially critical media artworks exploring place, space, the body and cultural identity, evoking layers of memory, history, myth, fantasy and desire to give visual form to these invisible levels of meaning. Artworks in museum collections include AI supercomputers in MoMA NY and the Smithsonian Institution, a VR artwork in the San Jose Museum of Art and AR artworks in the Whitney Museum NY and the Kunstsammlung Roche Basel, plus 2D and 3D print works in private collections.
/p is a German media artist and software developer working on web based projects and VR since 1994 and collaborating on AR and VR artworks with Tamiko Thiel since 2018.