Word on the street: Drifting browsing cruising

vor 3 years

Do not hide.
Do not be discreet.
Go get lost. Purposely. 

To be lost is to disrupt and disorganize.
To be lost is to exist in a realm of potential.
Staying on a path of assuredness is stagnant and predicated.
Straying from this path is creation in movement.

These mantras are the guiding forces behind the new VR exhibit ‘Drifting, browsing, cruising’ imagined by the artists Theodoulos Polyviou and Eleni Diana Elia, through the Beyond Matter residency, hosted online in the ZKM Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe. 

The point of the Beyond Matter project is to give international artists the ability and space to reimagine realms and structures that already exist. The current reimagining takes us to the Center for Art and Media in the UNESCO city of Karlsruhe, Germany. The museum is transformed into a mysterious chamber of ethereal colors, pathways, and blockades set to a haunting soundscape produced by Yako Vlev.

The medium of experiential art has never been more desired, nor have we ever been more capable. While museums and institutions are closed to the masses, the public’s need for escapism is made all the more obvious. With the ability to create in the realm of Virtual Reality, a form of escapism and fantasy is brought to us in the real-time, and it is perhaps more ‘real’ than what we have grown accustomed to in the last year. We have been caged and isolated in our real lives, yet through VR, we are once again able to travel, explore, and share the experience of what we saw, felt, thought.

This exhibit poses the question of what it means to be interpreted and reinterpreted. The experience itself is ambiguous. Rather than an order or a command, the directive is merely a vector of an action to be followed, with no prescribed purpose, means, or end. According to Marx, the task of philosophers of the past was to interpret the world. The task of present-day philosophers it to transform it. And transform a space Polyviou & Elia have.

To quote Polyviou in his essay Thoughts on Being Lost & Disoriented:

“To be disoriented in ”control societies”, as Gilles Deleuze has called it, implicates one’s less efficient performance within them. But being disoriented can also precipitate new forms of efficiency, ones that resonate with the “possible rendezvous” explained by Guy Debord in his Theory of Dérive.
Derived from the Latin word derivare, dérive essentially means to divert flows of water. In Debord’s work, it is considered the critical practice that reconfigures the commodified city. It is a form of experimental behaviour in an urban society; in a society of an “attention economy” (as mentioned by Jonathan Beller in The Cinematic Mode of Production), where the land is merely a backdrop against which rituals of capitalism collapse, very much like a Safari browser overlaying your default MacBook landscape background.”

What better way to reinterpret an art space: to shift the content of its walls, or rather the building itself? This is the aprés-garde.

More information on the Beyond Matter program can be found here

Text by Janna Shaw
Photos Courtesy of the Artists & the ZKM Center for Art & Media
This review is taken from our sister publication Numéro Berlin 

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