On Saturday, 1 July, the MacKenzie Art Gallery will debut Echoes from the Future: Speculative Creatures & Post-Human Botanicals an imaginative virtual world where art, technology, and environmental awareness converge. Curated by Tina Sauerlaender, Echoes from the Future is an innovative digital exhibition featuring the works of seven international artists. This immersive experience invites visitors to explore an alternative future inhabited by hybrid lifeforms, both online and through an in-person Virtual Reality (VR) component available at the Gallery.
In an era marked by the rapid disruption of Earth’s ecological balance, Echoes from the Future highlights speculative models for environmental sustainability and preservation of biodiversity. Through a diverse range of mediums (including painting and animated 3D models), the featured 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), and Tamiko Thiel (US/DE)—unpack the devastating impact of environmental degradation and speculate on future lifeforms.
Echoes from the Future is the second installment in the Gallery’s groundbreaking digital exhibition series—a series created through the MacKenzie Art Gallery’s Digital Exhibitions Toolkit and Art Installation Launcher (DETAIL). Conceptualized by Digital Exhibitions Consultants Cat Bluemke and Jonathan Carroll and funded by the Canada Council for the Art’s Digital Strategy Fund, DETAIL is an in-development collection of resources for creating a new field of art exhibitions for digital platforms.
“Echoes from the Future advances the DETAIL project in scope by its multi-user, multi-platform access,” states Digital Exhibition Consultant Cat Bluemke. “Audiences can visit it from their home computers online, or through the Gallery’s personal VR headsets. The multi-user and social aspects of the exhibit create a shared space for our audience. While the exhibit features artists from across the world, it exists online as one persistent space. The technology not only amplifies audience’s experience but assists in delivering the curator’s urgent message of shared environmental crisis.”
The ongoing DETAIL initiative seeks to redefine the possibilities of digital platforms for showcasing artistic expression. DETAIL and Echoes from the Future continue the MacKenzie Art Gallery’s exploration of new territory in immersive and thought-provoking digital art experiences.
There will be a virtual opening of Echoes from the Future on Thursday, 29 June from 12 PM – 1 PM CST. This digital exhibition highlights the international artists working across diverse media to preserve nature, reveal environmental devastation, and speculate on future life forms.
The event will be live-streamed to the MacKenzie’s Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch accounts.
Digital Exhibition Consultants Cat Bluemke and Jonathan Carroll will lead visitors through the virtual reality exhibition Echoes from the Future on Thursday, 29 June from 7 PM – 9 PM CST. Beginning with an introduction to the exhibit’s emergence from the MacKenzie Art Gallery’s current Digital Strategy program, Cat and Jonathan will present on the development process of digital exhibitions and the future of digital art at the MacKenzie Art Gallery.
The in-person reception takes place at the MacKenzie Art Gallery in Meeting Rooms one and two. Following the talk visitors will have the opportunity to accompany them to the second floor in the Orientation Gallery, where they will provide a live demonstration of the exhibit.
ABOUT THE CURATOR
Tina Sauerlaender (she/her) is an art historian, curator, speaker, and writer. 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 has curated an online exhibition, performingidentities.net. She is Artistic Director of the VR ART PRIZE by DKB in Cooperation with CAA Berlin. She has been curating and organizing international group shows since 2010, e.g. The Unframed World. Virtual Reality as Artistic Medium for the 21st Century at House of Electronic Arts Basel in 2017. She is Co-founder of Radiance VR, an international online platform and research database for virtual reality experiences in visual arts as well as the Radiance VR App, an app for VR Art for Meta Quest headsets. Together with curator Erandy Vergara she developed the exhibition series Critical Approaches in Virtual Reality Art and realized projects like Speculative Cultures. A Virtual Reality Art Exhibition (Kellen Gallery, Parsons/The New School, New York, 2019). She is the Founder of the SALOON, an international network for women working in art. She is a lecturer for Digital Art History at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts (HSBI) in Bielefeld, Germany. She gave many 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).
This project is made possible by the Canada Council for the Arts Digital Strategy Fund.
Credit: Screen capture of installation of work by Sabrina Ratté from Echoes from the Future online at MacKenzie.Art, 2023.