OPENING SCHEDULE

Wednesday June 3: 5-10pm
Thursday, June 4: 5-10pm
Friday, June 5: 5-10pm
Saturday, June 6: 5-10pm
Sunday, June 7: 4-9pm
COPENHAGEN

Hillerødgade 35-37
2200 København N
FREE
SYMPOSIUM JUNE 12

Critical aesthetics in
urban digital art
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AUDIO WALK

Departing from the aesthetic universe of Weberg’s installation, an audiowalk, written and spoken by writer Benedicte Gui de Thurah Huang, guides the audience on a narrated tour through the labyrinth spaces of the old factory.

Stream / download

LIVE SURVEILLANCE

During June 3-7, 2015, the exhibition will be accessible online via a surveillance camera. Launching June 3.

GO TO LIVESTREAM

CURATORIAL RESEARCH

The installation is conceptually, thematically and formally developed on the basis of an academic research project at Copenhagen University in the course Critical Curating: Urban Digital Art. Based on research into aesthetic and curatorial discourses that have informed the domain of urban digital art since the 1960s, five obstructions were formulated to challenge the development of the installation.

Read more

See documentation from the exhibition here.

June 3-7: The exhibition is open
5-10pm / June 3-6
4-9pm / June 7

Wednesday June 3:
5pm / Opening
7pm / welcome speech & artist talk

Saturday June 4:
8pm / reading by Benedicte Gui de Thurah Huang

Friday June 12:
9-16pm / Symposium at the Royal Danish Art Academy:
Critical Aesthetics in Urban Digital Art

ONLINE June 3-7:
Access the exhibition via surveillance cameras

 

Contact
TEL: +45 22 93 74 22
E-MAIL: tanyatoft@gmail.com

 

Swedish artist Anders Weberg (b. 1968 in Landskrona), who lives in the small town of Kölleröd in the south of Sweden, works with video, photography, sound, new media and installation art. He particularly works around issues of identity construction in a contemporary context in a mix of genres and forms of expression.

HERE ALL ALONE is the most comprehensive solo installation by the artist to date and his first in Copenhagen. In this ambitious total installation of sound and video art we recognize Weberg’s characteristic site-specific video exploration of urban textures and layers of meaning. Through the mediating optics of the mobile device, which increasingly reprograms our experience of the world, the artist brings the audience on an aesthetic journey behind the urban surface of the factory and underneath the emotional skin of our condition where we experience an uncanny confrontation with anxiety, fear and alienation.

Weberg has exhibited at numerous galleries, museums and biennials, among these Oscar Niemeyer Museum in Brazil, Museum of Modern Art in Buenos Aires, Centre Pompidou in Paris, and Beijing Contemporary Art Centre. His work has also been exhibited significant international art film festivals, among these File Brazil in Sao Paulo, Japan Media Arts Festival in Tokyo, SONAR in Barcelona, and European Media Arts Festival in Osnabrück. Since 2013 he has been working on the 720 hour long video work Ambiance, which will premier as the longest art film ever in 2020.

www.recycled.se

The ambient installation of sound and video art in the white factory at Nørrebro finds its grounding in a current condition: A time of growing alienation, social exclusion, insecurity and rising fear of anyone other. A reality in which recent violent events have enhanced the actuality of a fear-focused world. We find ourselves here, in the abandoned enzymes factory, confronted with the feeling of being in an emotionally desolated world — all alone.

Inside the factory, a fragment of the city is transitioned from the world of the concrete, productive and real into the realm of the fictional. The artist Anders Weberg invites us to explore the factory through various aesthetic entry points that confront the dystopian consequences of a fear-focused reality. He takes us behind the material surface of the factory and underneath an emotional skin of our cultural condition. Here, we are confronted with anxiety, fear and alienation, however not without hope that these emotional conditions can be cured. The aura of a factory once producing medicine for curing us physically and psychically mirrors a potentially curative emotional response to our uncanny status quo, which we are invited to explore while immersed in the responsive audiovisual installations.

The exhibition raises the overall question: How do we deal with being actors in a culture of decaying trust and increasing alienation?

Tanya Toft, curator

The installation was developed on the basis of five obstructions,
which were formulated to challenge the work against the critical discourses
that have informed the genealogy of urban digital art. 

The 5 obstructions were developed from a curatorial research project.
Read more

1. Abandon the screen.

Throughout the history of the moving image, the screen has set the medial format of representation as an ideological instrument, to be reflected upon through strategies of remediation and hypermediation. It has encapsulated the critical potential of the moving image and directed perceptual structures of viewing and experiencing – for example via the screen of the monitor, the projected image, the LED screen, the laptop or the mobile phone. The screen cannot condition the work, nor how the audience is led to experience the work.

2. Let the artwork be a passage.

For decades, video art has relied on intention, illustration and exemplification. Art has set forth to study and respond to the world as we know it, reproducing what is already there in the world, all while providing a scene for experiencing something emotional, speculative or enlightening – individually or as a collective. The work should avoid being presented to be scanned by the eye or subject to a passive gaze, but rather be a passage that encourages awareness and behavior.

3. Make the audience dis-identify with the site.

We understand a place by the things, issues, cultures and people that we identify with it. When we identify with this understanding, we are also delimited to the order, politics and dominance of that identification. To “dis-identify” is to reject one identifiable understanding of a place. The work must situate itself both within and against the various discourses that are called up when the place is “identified”, and it must do so on various levels of “site” – not just understood as the space and time of the physical location of the installation, but also a multi-leveled virtual space, relational to a complex world.

4. Challenge the active audience.

An audience is never passive, but it has been treated as such in humanist discourse in which the passive act of viewing the image has been considered separate from the active capacity to act in lived reality. In artistic discourse today, we may find active participation a condition rather than an option for aesthetic experience, while still navigating between the “don’t touch” convention of the traditional exhibition and the “push the button” expectation associated with interactive art. The artwork should avoid both. It must reconfigure the senses of the audience and stimulate new modes of audience behavior.

5. Inclusion.

The Curators role is to make the artwork accessible for everyone. Since it’s in a space for the public, no one should be excluded. The non-average exhibition goer should have the highest priority.

The old factory spaces hosting the exhibition, which until 2007 were in use for producing enzymes, belong to what is referred to as ‘Arne Jacobsen’s White Factory’. This was initially built in 1935 at the corner of Nordre Fasanvej and Hillerødgade in an industrial interpretation of functionalism. White facades were also chosen for the expansion of the factory in 1967-69, following the stylistic modern and stringent thesis of Arne Jacobsen.

June 12, 2015
CRITICAL AESTHETICS in Urban Digital Art

After decades critically oriented towards the screen and changing modes of expanded cinema, aesthetic practices with moving image and digital art have developed in a contested domain of public art. In an urban context continuously restructured through the influence of new technologies, how do we practice, negotiate and redefine “critical aesthetics” in urban digital art?

Following the exhibition and curatorial research project HERE ALL ALONE, the symposium continues a conversation on curatorial concerns, critical discourses and the urgent potential of urban digital art.

Festsalen på Kunstakademiet
Kongens Nytorv 1
1050 København

PROGRAM

9:00-12:30 / Critical Curating: Urban Digital Art
Student presentations by Zahra Al Ziheiri, Nina Cramer, Aaron Dishy, Levi Easterbrooks, Helene Gamst, Camilla Jaller, Noémie le Bouder, Pedro Filipe da Silveira, and Mikkel Stig Rørbo.

13:30-16:00 / Talks & panel

Maurice Benayoun, Artist & Curator of Open Sky Gallery, Hong Kong
Anders Weberg, Artist
Kassandra Wellendorf, Assistant Professor at Institute of Arts and Cultural Studies, Copenhagen University

/ moderated by Tanya Toft, Curator and Ph.d. Fellow at Institute of Arts and Cultural Studies, Copenhagen University

BIOS

Maurice Benayoun is a French pioneer in new-media art and theory based in Paris and Hong Kong. His works have been exhibited globally and employ video, immersive virtual reality, the Web, wireless technology, performance, large-scale urban art installations and interactive exhibitions. Benayoun will discuss his work as an artist and curator at the Open Sky Gallery in Hong Kong, the world’s largest LED gallery in black and white on the facade of the ICC Tower, in addition to concerns surrounding new media art in the contemporary globalized world.
www.benayoun.com/opensky/open-sky-gallery/

Kassandra Wellendorf is a Teaching Assistant Professor at Institute of Arts and Cultural Studies, Copenhagen University, and a film and media artist specialized in interactive media art and performance. In her academic research she investigates negotiations of visibility and invisibility in public spaces by the use of video, mobile technology, performance, augmented reality and different forms of participatory art. Wellendorf will discuss her works, curatorial concerns and the potential of urban digital art for community building in Copenhagen in the project INSIDE OUT 2400 from 2013.

Anders Weberg is a Swedish artist and filmmaker who has just embarked on his first solo-exhibition in Denmark with the total installation Here All Alone. The exhibition will showcase his continued exploration into audio-visual, site-specific explorations of urban textures and layers of meaning through his mobile phone. Weberg will share reflections on his recent exhibition and about some of the work and critical concerns that went into producing this.
www.recycled.se/


HERE ALL ALONE is a total installation of sound and video art by Swedish artist Anders Weberg. It takes up the entire 2000m2 area of ‘the white factory’ at Nørrebro, what used to be an enzymes factory but is now closed down.

The installation unfolds through large-scale audio and sound installations, and other visible and invisible installations involving surveillance cameras, push notifications and “old” media devices. Walking through the factory, the audience will experience various intuitive, embodied encounters with the installations that mirror how we engage with the world in a mediated reality increasingly conditioned by surveillance, feedback from invisible computing and overlays of virtual realities.

Here All Alone is curated by Tanya Toft.

Thank you to the students of the graduate course Critical Curating: Urban Digital Art at Institute of Arts and Cultural Studies, Copenhagen University for research and curatorial assistance:

Zahra Al Ziheiri
Nina Cramer
Aaron Dishy
Levi Easterbrooks
Helene Gamst
Camilla Jaller
Noémie le Bouder
Mikkel Stig Rørbo
and Pedro Filipe da Silveira.

PRODUCTION

Software artist duo: NULEINN, Rine Rodin & Magga Ploder.
Installation web developer: Michael Hansen
Audiowalk: Benedicte Gui de Thurah Huang
Technical production: Jorma Saarikko
Graphic design: Josephine Jensen
Communications assistant: Emily Jacobi

The white factory is made available for this exhibition through collaboration with GivRum, which will present the exhibition project in the same space at the City Link Conference, October 30, 2015.

HERE ALL ALONE is developed in collaboration with

KU logo

Kunstakademiet

GivRum Logo (1) (1)

 

HERE ALL ALONE is supported by

NCP logo

 

ABOUT

The total installation is developed on the basis of an academic research project at Copenhagen University in the graduate course Critical Curating: Urban Digital Art. Five obstructions were formulated as critical premises for the becoming of the exhibition, based on research into aesthetic and curatorial discourses that have informed the domain of urban digital art since the 1960s.

The research project is organized by Tanya Toft, Ph.d. Fellow at Institute of Arts and Cultural Studies, Copenhagen University, and conducted by the students of the graduate course Critical Curating: Urban Digital Art in spring 2015:

Zahra Al Ziheiri, Nina Cramer, Aaron Dishy, Levi Easterbrooks, Helene Gamst, Camilla Jaller, Noémie le Bouder, Pedro Filipe da Silveira, and Mikkel Stig Rørbo.

METHODOLOGY

The curatorial research project emerged from the underlying question: What are the real challenges and roles of contemporary art – in particular art that is conditioned by the emergence of digital technologies?

Our aim was to develop an exhibition project based on theoretical experimentation. Our research departed not from a problem but from an emerging new territory of practice, an observation of a particular enthusiasm in the art world and its related territories: the territory of urban digital art. This territory, phenomena or discourse is yet without a developed scholarly framework. We would explore what is not yet an established subject in the world, an expanded discourse and exhibition scheme for curating digital art and the digitally based moving image for public space. In particular, we would consider new modes of audience engagement that might reflect our engagement with material and virtual worlds in a reality constantly changing due to technological developments.

We wanted to “assess a different mode of inhabitation,” as Irit Rogoff proposes, and design this project to pursue something else than the usual way/practice. This required that we “know” what the usual way/practice is: We considered the historical precedents, the politics and aesthetics, the accessibility and flexibility, the built-in ideologies and epistemologies of the artistic “material” of digitally produced art, video and sound, and its position in relation to artistic discourse and urban spatial discourses and matters.

As curatorial researchers we situated ourselves in the site of art and curatorial practice as a method for knowledge production. Rather than setting up limitations or criteria, we shaped our methods through the phenomena we investigated. Beyond a theoretical grounding in the discussion of some of the writings that have been influential to the emergence of urban digital art, including Simmel, Benjamin, Bishop, Bourriaud, Rancière, Graham & Cook, Broeckmann, Jay, Kwon, Schreuder, Manovich, McQuire, O’Neill and Weibel, we framed our research context by looking at the relational departures for a large number of significant examples of expanded cinema and urban digital art. We studied these from the anchor points of their visual and medial idioms, artistic premise, site and urban context, audience, and the curatorial position, methodology and ethics reflected in their mode of exhibition. From these examples we synthesized some of the influential, critical and significant orientations and discourses that have shaped a territory of practice for producing and curating digitally based art forms in the urban domain.

We strived to “push” the conceptualization of the practical exhibition we were going to produce, beyond conventional modes of practice – and push our understanding of its role as a phenomenon through which we may be offered a new way of seeing or apprehending a new aspect of our world. Therefore we formulated five obstructions, based on our research in the genealogy of expanded cinema and urban digital art, and developed specifically for our concrete exhibition project. One of these obstructions, number five, is the artist Anders Weberg’s challenge to us as curators.

Among the topics of our discussions were how the total installation would be “here” in space and time – in the factory, in Copenhagen, in our modes of subjectivity in 2015; how it would make certain experiences possible while foreclosing others; how it would propose and embody a certain order, a certain model for perception, and how it might reconfigure the senses.

HERE ALL ALONE is the result of curatorial research in close collaboration with the artist Anders Weberg in open dialogue and constant bouncing between theory, practicality, and critical inquiry.

Course description
Curriculum


Abandon the screen.

Throughout the history of the moving image, the screen has set the medial format of representation as an ideological instrument, to be reflected upon through strategies of remediation and hypermediation. It has encapsulated the critical potential of the moving image and directed perceptual structures of viewing and experiencing – for example via the screen of the monitor, the projected image, the LED screen, the laptop or the mobile phone. The screen cannot condition the work, nor how the audience is led to experience the work.

Analysis
The screen has long been the dominant format for engagement with media-­based art in public space. Building on and challenging avant-­garde approaches to the screen, a myriad of curatorial and artistic conventions have emerged at the intersection of architecture, digital art, and society. Following early experimentation with video art in the 1960s, endeavors to extend film beyond the white cube of the fine art exhibition and the black box of cinema developed in multiple directions. One of these is the movement of expanded cinema that is associated with immaterial and performative video art. Another advanced in the public realm, often making use of electronic displays in urban architecture or projections that imitate the visual idiom of the screen.

Since the emergence of LED screens as ubiquitous components of the visual ecology of many contemporary cities in the 1990s, these have provided a platform for digital art -­ both as a medium and as a point of critical departure. The artistic use of urban LED screens often centers on a medium-­specific critique of the screen as the privileged venue for one-­way mass communication through the interventionist strategies of remediation and hypermediation. This is associated with the visual strategy of “perfect moments” that seek to make the spectator aware of processes of signification in regard to site and urban context by focusing on the content of the visual. In recent years, technological advancement has enabled new modes of screen-­based interactivity and a break with the rectangular frame.

However, the screen’s definitional power over perceptual structures continues to prevent the attainment of new ways of perceiving. Therefore, instead of revealing ideological power structures associated with the screen there should be an exploration of aesthetics beyond the screened image that mirrors the ways human experience is affected by the hypermediation of lived reality. This must consider how moving image artworks not bound to the screen can activate audiences’ awareness of, and participation in, processes of signification.

RESEARCH REFERENCES OBSTRUCTION 1


MediaLab Prado thumbnail
MediaLab Prado
Several art institutions have integrated urban screens as platforms for exhibiting moving images. One example is Media†Lab†Prado†whose public screen is used only as a facilitator for art.


casz-766086
Urban Screens
The Urban Screens Initiative instigated in Berlin around 2004 by Mirjam Struppek
facilitated the display of video art on urban screens with the purpose of challenging the
logics and routines of urban space. Urban Screens appropriated advertisement
screens into communal contexts catering to audiences’ sense of responsibility toward
their urban locality.


Screen Shot 2015-05-15 at 23.02.59

The Lanterna Magica
The Lanterna Magica could be said to be one of the historical precedents for the LED screen of today (Huhtamo). The attributes of overwhelming scale and an uncritical use of technology apply to both the LED screen and the Lanterna Magica and characterise them as examples of the spectacular use of public image dissemination.


Nazi rally in the Cathedral of Light c. 1937
Albert Speer, Cathedral of Light (1937)
The use of spectacle as an ideological instrument is seen in a effective and insidious iteration in Albert Speer’s Cathedral of Light. The overwhelming scale and the wow-effect of the new technology is both said to paralyze the audience and thereby making them passive to the ideological structures of society.

Screen Shot 2015-05-15 at 23.06.53
Lev Manovich, Selfie Sao Paulo (2014)
Many different screens are entering our everyday lives, most notably in the case of the mobile phone. Lev Manovich, Selfie Sao Paulo (2014) can be seen as an attempt to remediate this use and connection we seem to have with these smaller screens and thereby also critically question how the notion of the screen and cyberspace might be connected today.



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Doug Aitken, Sleepwalkers, MoMA (2007)
The Screen as projected image and the screen as some kind of spectacle is apparent in Doug Aitken’s Sleepwalkers, MoMA (2007). Here, the overwhelming scale and the filmic narrative contribute to some of the “old” conventions of the screen in public space.


3-MauriceBenayoun
Maurice Benayoun, Emotion Forecast  (2012)
Emotion Forecast  (2012) by Maurice Benayoun functions as a remediation of the screen-language we normally expect from screens in urban space. This can make people stop and wonder, engaging a newly critical audience,  but it also runs the risk of being overlooked.

Screen Shot 2015-05-15 at 23.12.04
Marijke van Warmerdam, Douche (1995)
This work employs “Perfect moments” as a visual strategy seeks to make people aware of their urban physical context. This approach views content as equally important as the screen itself. In Marijke van Warmerdam’s Douche (1995) the loop of the video and the mundane subject matter create a contrast to the visual noise of the space of presentation.


Pipilotti Rist, Open My Glade (2000)
The hypermediation of the screen seeks to create an awareness of the screen as a boundary, both artistically and physically, by an extensive critique of its medium as in Pipilotti Rist’s Open My Glade (2000).



Chris O’Shea, Hand From Above (2009) vs. Forever 21 advertisement
The remediation of the screen seeks to re-use the already existing language from advertisement. However, sometimes the question can be: who was here first? The relationship between Chris O’Shea’s Hand From Above (2009) and a subsequent Forever 21 advertisement raise questions of copyright and the use of interactivity in art and advertisement.


Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz, Hole in Space (1980)
Using the screen as a medium for live transmissions, e.g. Hole in Space (1980) opened up an entirely different way for people to engage with the screen and each other across the world, long before Skype.



Dan Graham, Video Projection Outside Home (1978)
The screen became an everyday object in the lives of American middle class families during the 1960s and 1970s. Dan Graham’s installation “Video Projection Outside Home” (1978) explored television as the mirror of the American middle class by broadcasting the television program that inhabitants of a suburban house were watching on a large screen outside.



Jeffrey Shaw, Corpocinema (1967)
Expanded cinema attempted to link cinema and perception with new technologies that would alter perceptions of film and all its related contexts. An early example is Theo Botschuijver and Jeffrey Shaw, Corpocinema (1967). Here images were projected on surfaces not usually associated with screen viewing.


Stan Vanderbeek, Moviedrome (1963)
Moviedrome challenged traditionally passive modes of viewing video artwork in the static screen format. By projecting moving images on curved surfaces that enclose the viewer, Stan Vanderbeek expanded perceptual structures and consequently formed a more active audience.


Tony Oursler, The Influence Machine & Garden (2013)
Tony Oursler, The Influence Machine & Garden (2013) . Oursler employs projections on trees and liquid surfaces, moving away from the hegemony of the constructed screen. Instead, urban surroundings become the screen onto which images are projected.


Let the artwork be a passage.

For decades, video art has relied on intention, illustration and exemplification, which are reproducing what is already there in the world. Art has set forth to study and respond to the world as we know it and provided a scene for experiencing something emotional, speculative or enlightening – individually or as a collective. The work should avoid being presented to be scanned by the eye, but rather be a passage that encourages awareness and behavior, while constructing something human, pointing towards an active change in the world.

Analysis
In order to escape the alienation arising from spectacular mediations characteristic of increasingly digitalized urban spaces, artworks should serve as a passage that engages the viewer in dialogue, rather than promoting a distanced contemplation. Work that functions as a passage produces awareness of the structures of the artwork, the viewing process, and related spaces, simultaneously creating new modes of behavior that reflect this awareness.


Though this logic is taken to validate work that frequently physicalizes these relations through interactive/participative methods, artworks may function as a passage through other immersive strategies – physical or not – such as open narratives or medial interplay that expose the underlying discourses and the extended spatiality of the artwork, engaging the viewer in the production of meaning. This can be observed in work such as Adrian Piper’s “Cornered” (1988) which confronts the audience with racialized realities that they may not be aware of, yet are complicit in. A new mode of audience behavior is produced spatially (rather than discursively) in Pipilotti Rist’s “Pour Your Body Out” (2008): scale, perspective, and comfortability are used to produce an immersive environment, in which the viewers can inhabit the work.

Both of theses modes of engagement mark attempts for the work to serve as a passage for the viewer. Acting as both a discursive and a spatial passage, the artwork should orient the spectator in these multiplicities of meaning with their social/aesthetic implications, their covert economic processes, and their relational structures, all while inviting him/her to take a part in their transformation.

RESEARCH REFERENCES OBSTRUCTION 2



Situationst International, On the Passage of a Few Persons through a Rather Brief Unity in Time (1959)
This situationist film advocates for transgressive play and communal interaction as a response to internalized societal expectations that are produced by capitalist logic of production. This also a direct reaction to the the DeBordian conception of relations under capitalism as spectacular, instead proposing the creation of alternative spatial and durational structures.



Hans Haacke, MoMA Poll (1970)
Haacke’s poll presents audience members with political preferences of the then Governor of New York, allowing them to cast a vote after being presented with this knowledge. The work denies the political neutrality of the museum institution and makes political activity transparent and central to the art-viewing experience.


Hélio Oiticica, Block Experiments in Cosmococa (1973)
Immersion in an artwork can come twofold according to Graham Coulter-Smith: on the one hand it has the ability to fully engage the audience in a sensorial/intellectual experience, on the other hand the necessary distance which permits a critical point of view might become absent.



Adrian Piper, Cornered (1988)
In “Cornered”, Piper presents what first looks to be a video monitor with chairs placed in front, conducive to a passive audience. However, the work confronts this passivity and challenges viewers to question racial imbalances that they be complicit in producing by addressing them directly.


Mona Hatoum, Corps Étranger (1994)
Combining video and architectural elements, Hatoum surrounds the viewer in architectural space while simultaneously forcing them to insert themselves into her body through corporeal images she projects. This allows the viewer to become critical of the literalized penetration of their gaze, forming a new awareness of the role of the audience in producing and altering meaning with the artwork. In this way, it functions as a physical, visual, and discursive passage.



Hyperreality
According to Jean Baudrillard, hyperreality refers to a contemporary condition in which reality is indistinguishable from simulations of reality. This pervades social relations and is especially reflective of those mediated by screens and other mass cultural products.



Pipilotti Rist, Pour Your Body Out (2008)
Rist employs scale and alternative viewing spaces to form a sensorially immersive work. In turn, this produces alternative modes of art viewership that value comfort, leisure, and informality that produce a semi-communal experience and a total immersion within the world of the work. However, does this total immersion risk the critical capacity of the audience in a spectacular fashion?


Post-Media (in)Determinacy
Clemens Apprich departs from Andreas Broeckmann’s tripartition of the post-media concept to try to legitimize the term’s political relevance. Breaking with the communicational linearity model of Information Theory, post-media emphasizes the relational character of communication and highlights its processes of enunciation: an anti-deterministic view of technology as a driver for social change.



Fritz Haeg, Dome Colony X in the San Gabriels (2009)
“Dome Colony X…” fosters the formation of alternative community and art viewing structures within exhibition context in a nod to utopian vision of 60s and 70s California communes. The work wears these political aspiration on its sleeve, unlike some other works advancing a somewhat similar political agenda. This clarity allows audiences to participate in this micro-utopia while remaining critical of its broad socio-political aims.


Paul O’Neill, Our Day Will Come (2011)
Paul O’Neill’s curatorial work encourages active audience behavior (in the form of educational relationships) that form durational structures atypical for most exhibition formats. In this way, the exhibition presents work that forms a new communal structure with the audience that seeks to produce knowledge through pedagogy rather than the presentation of typical art objects.



Participation and Spectacle
For Claire Bishop art has the capacity to operate removed from the real world whilst being simultaneously a part of it. It is the third element in between spectacle and spectator which provides the artistic experience with the capacity “to have a purchase on the public imaginary”.


Jeremy Deller, The Battle of Ogreave (2001)
Deller’s work restaged a forgotten event of divisive political importance integral to Britain’s political subconscious. “The Battle of Ogreave”, through a reenactment of a miner’s riot, re-politicizes the past for participants and spectators, thus creating a new set of socio-political relations through the immersion of participants in the work.



Raphael Lozano-Hemmer, Vectorial Elevation (2010)
Using digital platforms for interactive ends, Lozano-Hemmer’s work allows online participants to intervene architecturally into the city of Vancouver by controlling 20 searchlights. Through this participative element, a new political agency is granted through the ability to reclaim “public” space. However, it is not certain whether this amounts to effective democratic involvement or a mimicry of the spectacular relations it attempts to move on from.


Thomas Hirschhorn, Touching Reality (2012)
Hirschhorn’s projection confronts of passive viewership without breaking typical video projection formats. The video exhibits photos of mutilated bodies (products of wars/ car accidents/other disasters) that are often absent from media depictions of these events. Subjects have grown passive in the consumption of such media but these abject images break from their typical language of images to incite more active spectatorship.


Make the audience dis-identify with the site.

We understand a place by the things, issues, cultures and people that we identify with it. When we identify with this understanding, we are also delimited to the order, politics and dominance of that identification. To dis-identify is to reject one identifiable understanding of a place. The work must situate itself both within and against the various discourses that are called when the place is “identified”, and it must do so on various levels of “site” – not just understood as the space and time of the physical location of the installation, but also a multi-leveled virtual space, relational to a complex world.

Analysis
A dis-identification with the site for the art-viewing audience seeking to complicate a uncritical complicity in viewing should begin to explore of site-specificity and place-making through the logic of in-betweenness . To complicate dominant narratives on the understanding of specific sites, a binary logic that considers the site as either a place or non-place should be foregone, opting instead for the transitional position between these conceptions. It is in this liminal condition that counter-identifications to familiar narratives of the city are nurtured.


Significantly, spatial and psycho-social relationships between the city’s inhabitants characterized by exclusion can be interrupted through exaggerated isolation and detachment. In other words, if relational aesthetics requires unified subjects in projects designed to heighten social harmony, exhibitions seeking a dis-identification with the site are more in line with a relational antagonism that polemically taps into conflicts and divisions in urban subjectivities.

The strategy of estrangement may also be deployed at the level of interactivity so that typically static content within an installation escapes the viewer due to its movement in the space. Thus, the audience is confronted with a bodily ‘thereness’ that is never quite fulfilled. They are only given access to half the tools required to fully insert themselves into a mutually experienced whole. In this way an exhibition can illustrate an in-betweenness experienced through the individual’s own physicality while co-opting the (il)logics of alienation and estrangement often aimed more exclusively at the collective and applies them to the frames of the site, individual, relational, and interactive mediality.

RESEARCH REFERENCES OBSTRUCTION 3



Lin de Mol, Short Play for Love (2000)
Lin de Mol’s video installation Short Play for Love (2000) disturbed the desolate atmosphere of its urban site when it was exhibited in Vredenburg square in Utrecht. At night a projection showing images of couples kissing was combined with a projection of a slowly rising moon thus promoting associations of intimacy and romance that are not usually related to this site.



Richard Serra, Tilted Arc (1981-1989)
In phenomenological site-specificity “site” is treated as a physical location that formally and conceptually directs artistic practice. In this sense, to move a phenomenologically site-specific work is to destroy it as was the case with Richard Serra’s Tilted Arc that was removed from its site in front of the Jakob J. Javits Federal Building in New York after much public controversy over the sculpture’s obstruction of people’s movement through the plaza.


Elmgreen & Dragset, Powerless Structures (2012)
Elmgreen & Dragset’s Powerless Structures (2012) exhibited as part of the Fourth Plinth project in London’s Trafalgar Square is a paraphrase of the traditional war monument that opts for the appraisal of the non-heroic – the young boy astride a rocking horse is in witty contrast to the statue of King George IV on the opposite plinth.



Andrea Fraser, Museum Highlights (1989)
In the performance Museum Highlights: A Gallery Talk (1989) Andrea Fraser conducted a tour of the Philadelphia Museum of Art as the fictional docent Jane Castleton. Throughout the tour of the museum galleries, cafeteria, and lobby there is often a disjuncture between Fraser’s exaggerated praise of the encountered items and the actual objects. Due to her exploration of the policies and unspoken assumptions of art institutions, Fraser is widely regarded as a pioneer of institutional critique.


Bruce Nauman, Room with My Soul Left Out, Room That Does Not Care (1984)
Bruce Nauman’s installation shows the space “in-between” in deeply architectural terms by placing the individual at the center of a hollowed out vector whereby isolation shows as a physical property of the site-specific art piece.



Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Hartford Wash (1973)
In the performances Hartford Wash (1973) Mierle Laderman Ukeles mopped and scrubbed the floors of the galleries and the exterior steps of the museum highlighting the division of labor within art institutions and exposing the privileged status of artistic labor in her critique of the ideological frameworks of the site.



Jeannette Ehlers, Whip it Good! (2013)
Jeannette Ehlers’ performance Whip it Good! reenacted at the West India Warehouse in Copenhagen that previously stored rum, sugar and coffee from the Antilles and today houses the Royal Cast Collection engages with several aspects of the site as histories of slavery and colonialism as well as the whitewashing of art history are confronted.


Santiago Sierra, Wall Enclosing a Space (2003)
Santiago Sierra’s contribution for the Spanish Pavilion at the 2003 Venice Biennale relied on techniques of obstruction and concealment to highlight accessibility issues. Sierra covered the word “España” on the facade of the building and sealed its entrance with cinderblocks. Only visitors with Spanish passports were allowed to enter, only to discover that the pavilion contained the remains of the previous installation.



Thomas Hirschhorn, Bataille Monument (2002)
For Thomas Hirschhorn, political commitment in the arts does not require the literal activation of the viewer in a space but rather meticulous choice of format, materials and location. Hirschhorn’s Bataille Monument challenged visitors to Documenta XI, making them feel like intruders and provoking reflection rather than physical action.


Gordon Matta-Clark, Conical Intersect (1975)
Working with the non-site or void in an immensely physical way, Matta Clark intervened in urban space creating spaces characterized by their absence – large cut outs in buildings allowing for a questioning of the constructedness of urban space and our place in it. Likewise in Fake Estates, he shows the uninhabitable or pointlessly ownable.



Bruce Nauman, Live-Taped Video Corridor (1970)
Bruce Nauman’s Live-Taped Video Corridor (1970) contains two stacked TV monitors linked to a camera at the corridor’s entrance. Walking through the very narrow corridor, one views oneself from behind in the top monitor, diminishing in size as one gets closer. At the same time, the viewer is uncannily absent from the lower monitor, resulting in an unsetting self-conscious experience of displacement.


Mar Canet and Varvara Guljajeva, Binoculars to… Binoculars from… (2013)
Binoculars to… Binoculars from… is a public installation that offers real-time windows into distant locations. When you look through the binoculars, instead of seeing the city in front of you, you get a glimpse of a different location. At the same time, your eye is projected on a large urban screen at the observed site.



Günter Brus, Zerreißprobe (1970)
Speaking through both the universal and the intensely private, the works of the Vienna Actionists confronted audiences with a body of work that is both viscerally relatable and unsettlingly alienating.


Dirk de Bruyn, Traum A Dream (2007)
Expanded cinema artist Dirk de Bruyn focuses on the physiology viewing while drawing on the experiences of trance and catatonia as ways of confronting the viewer. Traum a Dream (2007) contains a narrative of the body in shock that is reflected in the visual expression of the film through flickering images and haunting afterimages, making palpable the shock of viewing.


Marnix de Nijs, Physiognomic Scrutinizer (2008)
In Marnix de Nijs’ Physiognomic Scrutinizer (2008 – ) interactivity becomes a means of alienation. Viewers who engage with the work are matched with controversial celebrity lookalikes with whom the resemblance is often approximate at best.


Challenge the active audience.

An audience is never passive, but it has been treated as such in humanist discourse in which the passive act of viewing the image has been considered separate from the active capacity to act in lived reality. In artistic discourse today, we may find active participation a condition rather than an option for aesthetic experience, while still navigating between the “don’t touch” convention of the traditional exhibition and the “push the button” expectation associated with interactive art. The artwork should avoid both. It must reconfigure the senses of the audience and stimulate new modes of audience behavior.

Analysis
The participation of audiences of urban digital art negotiates concerns within the confines of the art world as well as outside it, with respect to the pre-existing conditions of urban public space. Within the art-specific discourse, participation as a situation of scopic negotiation and the “don’t touch” convention of the traditional exhibition are assessed and frequently subverted. The role of the digital in public space and its relation to art is questioned through modes of participation centered around issues of art as a participative system, techno-cultural behavior, and the “push the button” expectation associated with interactive art.


Preceding the prevalence of digital interactivity, artists attempting to make apparent the viewer’s implication in the creation of signification made these relations visible through early participative methods. Dan Graham’s “Time-Delay Room” (1974) and Bruce Nauman’s “Live-Taped Video Corridor” (1970) both serve to expose the role of the viewer within the art space and the artwork itself, thus revealing previously hidden relations through a manipulation of video to participatory ends.

Currently, active participation may appear as a condition rather than an option for aesthetic experience. Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s “Vectorial Elevation” (1999) is exemplary of the manifestation of this turn in urban digital art. It physicalizes online participation, hinting towards the democratic potential in less politically restrictive digital spaces and attempts to reconcile the alienation of the late capitalist subject through involvement in the process of art making and viewing. However, it is necessary to remain critical of such modes of participatory art to avoid a mere illusion of inclusion and political power, as well as the spectacularization of urban public art.

RESEARCH REFERENCES OBSTRUCTION 4



Stan Vandereek, Moviedrome (1963)
Moviedrome challenged traditionally passive modes of viewing video artwork in the static screen format. By projecting moving images on curved surfaces that enclose the viewer, Stan Vanderbeek expanded perceptual structures and consequently formed a more active audience.



Scopic Regimes (Martin Jay)
Cartesian perspectivalism: Situation of controlling audience experience in space, deliver a message in a fixed frame/fixed meaning.
The baroque perspective (scopic regime of today): Characterized by unfocused, multiple, and disorienting aesthetic experience – a moment of unease, without ideological (God’s eye) view imposed; situation that is embodied, which has a tactile/haptic quality.


Augmented Space
Physical architectural space paired with an imposed digital logic is what Lev Manovich’s “augmented space” refers to. It is a space that replicates and physicalizes digital networks of connectivity and mediation. Manovich is surprisingly uncritical of the spectacular implications of this new kind of architecture.



MediaLab Prado, Lummoblocks (2010)
“Lummoblocks” incites a durational interactivity rather than a simple button pressing mode of participation. However, in the works conflation of game playing and interactive art, it plays into an experience economy that employs spectacle uncritically to the detriment of audience criticality.


The Emancipated Spectator (Jacques Ranciére)
“Emancipation starts from the opposite principle, the principle of equality. It begins when we dismiss the opposition between looking and acting and understand that the distribution of the visible itself is part of the configuration of domination and subjection”: the spectator is always active as their presence and process of viewing constructs meaning.



Agency in Networked Commons (Christine Paul)
Paul’s conception of networked activism merges physical and digital spaces in a redefinition of public space. The new networked commons enhances the ability to enact certain kinds of political intervention. Digital art often serves as a mediating agent that enables this new political agency through online networks.



Hans Haacke, MoMA Poll (1970)
Haacke’s poll presents audience members with political preferences of the then Governor of New York, allowing them to cast a vote after being presented with this knowledge. The work denies the political neutrality of the museum institution and makes political activity transparent and central to the art-viewing experience.


Dan Graham, Time Delay Room (1974)
Graham’s work partitions a gallery space in two, feeding the recorded video of the audience to the viewers in the room opposite them. This recording is on an 8 second time delay, allowing viewers from one room to to move to the other and catch the recording of themselves leaving the previous space of surveillance. This encourages awareness of the viewer’s role in producing meaning and content.



Bruce Nauman, Live-Taped Video Corridor (1970)
A tapering corridor is constructed leading towards two video monitors. The entrance to this passage contains a camera recording the audience members that enter to walk towards the screens. Their image grows smaller on the screen as they move towards the monitors on which the video of their movement is shown.


Cris O’Shea, Hand from above (2009)
Chris O’Shea’s work examines the role of the audience in the construction of meaning. However, it’s reliance on simplistic bodily movement and the expectation of 1:1 feedback loop of action and reaction does not allow it to exceed rather uncritical modes of activated viewership.



Rirkrit Tiravanija, Untitled (Free) (1992)
“Untitled (Free)” transforms art spaces into a communal and semi-residential setting in which the artists cooks and provides free food for the audience. In doing so, the artwork is turned into a set of temporarily ameliorative social structures that provide a respite from the typical hierarchization of art spaces and urban public space.


Raphael Lozano-Hemmer, Vectorial Elevation (2010)
Using digital platforms for interactive ends, Lozano-Hemmer’s work allows online participants to intervene architecturally into the city of Vancouver by controlling 20 searchlights. Through this participative element, a new political agency is granted through the ability to reclaim “public” space. However, it is not certain whether this amounts to effective democratic involvement or a mimicry of the spectacular relations it attempts to move on from.



Situationst International, On the Passage of a Few Persons through a Rather Brief Unity in Time (1959)
This situationist film advocates for transgressive play and communal interaction as a response to internalized societal expectations that are produced by capitalist logic of production. This also a direct reaction to the the DeBordian conception of relations under capitalism as spectacular, instead proposing the creation of alternative spatial and durational structures.


Non-place (Marc Augé)
Non places are characteristic of the excesses of time, space, and excess itself, that are integral to supermodernity. They can be transitional and consumptive spaces such as train stations, supermarkets, and airports. The alienation of the late capitalist subject is apparent here. Participative and communal structures may counter this.


Inclusion.

The Curators role is to make the artwork accessible for everyone. Since it’s in a space for the public, no one should be excluded. The non-average exhibition goer should have the highest priority.

Analysis
Contemporary Danish society is being confronted with a dual problematic regarding both growing internal diversity and the forced standardization of the lifestyles and cultures that exist in Denmark. It is vital to ensure that the wealth of cultural and linguistic expression held within Danish borders does not dissolve under the hegemony of political and economic disputes and dominant cultural models. To combat this, as is suggested by Nicolas Bourriaud, an altermodernity must be constructed. Public space can no longer be reduced to a cultural and social reality constricted by western formats. Complicity with colonialism and Eurocentrism strangles the art process and its ability to create a space of equality and mutually beneficial experience. In order to achieve this equality, public art must produce a simultaneously interactive and inclusive platform for productive intercultural dialogue (Simona Bodo). This inclusion will take shape in a multifaceted ethical mode of linguistic and cultural translation. In the case of new communities in Copenhagen, cultural languages are a means of communication. They are a potential link, allowing for equality in the comprehension of public spaces, while opening up participative roles within the public space and providing each individual with access to interact with the exhibited public digital art.


Among many interesting examples on the website www.digitalmeetscuture.net we have found one suitable example to the above, which is “Mind mirror”, a digital art installation at the Copenhagen re-new 2013 art Festival. ”Mind mirror’ is a successful example on digital art that made such inclusion possible. Not only did the audience interact clearly with the art object, but they were also provided with an opportunity to reflect on their experience of stress and the consequent clouding of their thought. Since exhibiting inclusive digital art on a large scale in public requires a consideration of various discourses on inclusion and art, looking to or drawing inspiration from simplified digital art works like this one might be very effective.