Tallinn Art Hall will open major international exhibition Immerse! at its Lasnamäe Pavilion, introducing novel artistic perspectives.
“We believe that Estonian audiences may have never seen such an exhibition before,” say the curators of the exhibition, Corina L. Apostol (Tallinn Art Hall) and Lívia Nolasco-Rózsás (ZKM Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe). “Every day, billions of people alternate between being absorbed into and expelled from a digitally constructed virtual environment. Artificial environments have an enormous immersive power; people seem to live several lives at once. This is what the new exhibition tries to make sense of and reflect with the help of unprecedented artistic possibilities.”
Immerse! is an international group exhibition about the various facets and epistemological, cognitive and political implications of immersion that are made possible through computation today. With the recent worldwide accelerated digitisation of the arts during the pandemic and the ensuing crisis, the exhibition and its catalogue serve as a timely resource to reflect on and analyse some of the latest artistic solutions and platforms that enable remote access to knowledge and culture in unique and effective ways.
Via the exhibition and the catalogue accompanying it, viewers and readers are asked to reconsider their relationship to the virtual dimensions of reality, by posing questions such as: How can virtual reality, understanding it as computer-generated public space in all forms possible, contribute to current political and social discourses?
The material presented in the exhibition focuses specifically on Central and Eastern Europe, and the thematic exhibition includes art projects completed in the Beyond Matter residency program. In addition to Estonian artists, almost 20 international artists participate in the exhibition: Kristaps Ancāns (LV/UK), Zach Blas (US/CA), Guim Camps (ES/CO), Ami Clarke (UK), Dennis Dizon (PH/ES), Laureta Hajrullahu (XK), Hanna Hildebrand (IT/CH), Laura Kuusk (EE) & Camille Laurelli (FR/EE), Olson Lamaj (AL), Andrii Linik (UA), Anna Manankina (UA/DE), Alyona Movko-Mägi (EE), Bahar Noorzadeh (CA/IR/UK), Shelley Odradek / Katie Zazenski (US/PL), Kirill Savchenkov, Tomo Savić-Gecan (HR/NL), Jonas Staal (NL/GR), Ivar Veermäe (EE/DE) and Ksenia Yurkova (RU/AT).
“Observations have led us to various questions, such as: How have knowledge production and spatial relations been resituated within new immersive relationships and virtual entanglements that act as mediators of space and presence? And how do we keep a critical distance when the distinction between real and virtual, computer-generated and tangible defy perception? What does this new “now” look like and feel like?” the curators commented.
The artists in this exhibition help us give shape and clarity to this moment through their expression about what we are losing, how we are changing, and what the digital “poster children” or the virtual totems of the current crises will be. Artworks displayed comment on the issues of political urgency today.
The exhibition is realised within the framework of Beyond Matter, an international collaborative practice-based research project that brings cultural heritage and culture in development to the verge of virtual reality. Tallinn Art Hall has been part of this project since 2019, and the upcoming exhibition and catalogue mark the conclusion of this multi-year endeavour. This common undertaking seeks to engage with a contemporary shift – largely attributable to the rapid development, ubiquitous presence, and use of computation and information technology – in the production and mediation of visual art within institutional frameworks.
Beyond Matter is co-funded by the Creative Europe Program of the European Union.