Seven works whose digitality, networkism, neuronality and the anaerobic otherworldliness of their perspective provide insights into the systems, myths, forms, spaces and sounds that influence our imaginations.
When our fairy tales start with “beyond the seven mountains, beyond the seven forests” instead of “once upon a time”, it suggests that things are happening now, albeit far off and unseen, beyond the horizon of events we know, but quite possibly affecting the way they unfold.
Natalia Balska (PL) / Norimichi Hirakawa (JP) / Elvin Flamingo + Infer (PL) / Paweł Janicki (PL) / Maciej Markowski (PL) / Stanza (GB) / WROcenter Group (PL)
curated by Piotr Krajewski
From September 20th to October 4th the main hall of the ”Dom Słowa Polskiego” Printing House will turn into an exhibition space, hosting the show beyond the seven. The WRO Art Center, organizers of the WRO Media Art Biennale, prepared the exhibition on the invitation of ECHO Investment, the current owners of the DSP.
This isn’t the first time the former printing house has been involved with contemporary art; it houses a number of including Griffin Art Space, a longtime WRO collaborator.
beyond the seven is an impressively large-scale exhibition dealing with speculative relations between science and art, technology and the imagination, scientific discoveries and artistic visions. Displaying new-media art in what used to be the local center of the Gutenberg Galaxy – the DSP, built in the mid-20th century, was the largest printing plant in Poland – brings to mind Marshal McLuhan’s historic prediction regarding the decline of print as the primary medium shaping people’s cultural experience of the world and the main format for the crystallization of human experience.
As the show’s curator, Piotr Krajewski, put it, ”beyond the seven comprises seven works whose digitality, networkism, neuronality and the anaerobic otherworldliness of their perspective provide insights into the systems, myths, forms, spaces and sounds that influence our imaginations.”
So what will we see? One significant aspect of the exhibition is definitely its scale: Over 2000 square meters of the hall will serve as the space for seven remarkable installations, but as the organizers emphasize, their physical size isn’t as important as their artistic magnitude. All seven of the works were featured in the main program of the WRO Biennale, the largest forum in Poland for new media art. Most of the works chosen for Beyond the Seven were shown in the 2017 edition of the Biennale; all of them attracted the interest and attention of both the public and the critics.
Some of them attracted particular interest, such as ”the irreversible” by Norimichi Hirakawa, one of the most gifted young Japanese media artists. Projected onto a screen 22 meters across, this abstract, generative hallucination of a Big Bang in which the universe collapses into a single point is entrancingly hypnotic.
With ”We – The Common Body”, an installation from the intersection of bioart and VR, Elvin Flamingo and the duet Infer created raise important questions in a fascinating form. The work, which deals with cultural concepts of colonizing outer space and visions of the post-human cosmos, was awarded the grand prize at the 2017 WRO Biennale.
We’ll also see Paweł Janicki’s ”RPN”, an installation using laser installations, and Natalia Balska’s neural network ”The Beta Obelisk” in which artificial intelligence decodes conspiracy theories found in the Internet, much as the 1799 discovery of the Rosetta Stone, inscribed with three scripts, made it possible to decipher hierglyphs.
Maciej Markowski’s ”340.3” presents a musical work in a vacuum chamber, alluding both to Joseph Wright’s famous painting ”Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump” (1768) and to John Cage’s composition ”4:33”, which had a major impact on 20th-century art.
The British artist Stanza’s ”Nemesis Machine” is an interactive model city made of discarded electronic components. Occupying 50 square meters, it illustrates the boundlessness of the proliferation of human society.
A third version of the installation ”On the Silver Globe” has been prepared specially for the beyond the seven exhibition. The work of the WROcenter Group, the installation deals with historical events as well as imaginative flights to the Moon. Like some of the other works in beyond the seven, this one invites us to interact and communicate with it using our own mobile devices.
beyond the seven is loaded with allusions. Each of the installations deals with current cultural issues like physical identity, perception and ways of experiencing symbolic space.
Regarding the title of the exhibition, the curator says, ”When our fairy tales start with ‘beyond the seven mountains, beyond the seven forests’ instead of ‘once upon a time’, it suggests that things are happening now, albeit far off and unseen, beyond the horizon of events we know, but quite possibly affecting the way they unfold.”
Seven is a symbolic number in many cultures and belief systems. For the exhibition beyond the seven, the important thing is that among the many meanings ascribed to the number seven, one is fullness, sublimity and completeness.
So it’s worth checking out what’s waiting beyond the seven in the historic and culturally significant Dom Słowa Polskiego Printing House.
September 23, 2017 (Saturday), 3 PM:
meeting with the curator & a cocktail within the Warsaw Gallery Weekend
September 26, 2017 (Tuesday), 10 AM:
curator guided tour in English for the participants and guests of the Digital Cultures conference
September 27, 2017 (Wednesday), 7 PM:
curator guided tour as part of the Digital Cultures conference