Opening: Friday, October 6, 2017 at 7 pm
Participating artists: Thomas Demand, Alicja Kwade, Marnix de Nijs, Hans Op de Beeck, David O’Reilly, Manuel Roßner, Bayerisches Landeskriminalamt, Christin Marczinzik & Thi Binh Minh Nguyen, and Toast among others
Curated by: Franziska Nori
In autumn 2017, the Frankfurter Kunstverein will present the thematic group exhibition “Perception is Reality: On the Construction of Reality and Virtual Worlds”. The invited artists investigate the conditions of human perception in relation to constructed works. The point of departure is a selection of art works, analogue and digital, as well as virtual reality applications drawn from the fields of contemporary art and the sciences. The spatial juxtaposition of the works functions as a thought experiment about the emotional effects of artificial images.
With the advent of immersive technologies, our perception has become increasingly unmediated. Will the virtual reality of the future see humans increasingly active in a non-analogue world? Will individuals see their actions in the digital sphere as complementary to the analogue world, or will they try to escape into a world of illusions? What will happen to the idea of the political body in public space? And in whose hands will these future technologies lie, these instruments which can influence people’s emotions and opinions so strongly? Will it be possible to develop countercultures in the virtual world, or will they ultimately be regulated by global corporations?
The exhibition examines which conditions structure virtual reality and how these conditions influence individuals, their perceptions, their ideas of the world, and consequently society as a whole. Illusory three-dimensional worlds have existed for centuries, from the dioramas of the 19th century to the automatic virtual environment, the so-called cave, of the 1990s. Since 2016, commercial solutions in the form of wearable VR glasses have been available for private use. Thus, the availability for content producers as well as consumers has exponentially increased.
This leads to the questions of who exactly is pushing these technologies forward, which industries exploit the potential of immersive spaces of experience and which intentions will they develop these technologies with. Another central topic to be addressed in the exhibition at Frankfurter Kunstverein is the significance of Virtual Reality technology for identity formation and human psychological development.
From the field of contemporary art, Thomas Demand and Marnix de Nijs will present works. New installations by Hans Op de Beeck and Alicja Kwade, which they especially conceived for the exhibition, will be on view. Each position will receive its own exhibition space, and the juxtaposition of the works aims at opening up space for thought within the framework of the exhibition choreography, which also integrates various VR stations. The development labs of the “Zentrale Fototechnik und 3D-Tatortvermessung (Central Photo Technology and 3D Crime Scene Mapping)” of the Bayerisches Landeskriminialamt (Bavarian State Police) of Munich, for example, will thus be made accessible to the public for the first time.
An extensive programme of lectures by experts from various fields, as well as public talks, discussions and workshops will accompany the exhibition.