The archive is an immersive environment: the sum of documentary material circulating between individual interactions, in culture, in the media; creating structures of a shared consciousness and ‘collective memory.’ Methods of archiving have changed dramatically alongside accelerations of information distribution and increased storage possibilities. Collective assertions of equity have exposed problematic implicit power dynamics of archival methods, highlighting who has designated what we collectively remember.
Inhabiting an interactive multidimensional space, RECOLLECTING FUTURES presents three contemporary artistic perspectives on how we store, evaluate and share information and memories, and how archives will be structured in our future of mixed realities. In an effort to cope with the vastness of information circulating in all different kinds of media, curators Miriam Arbus (synthesis gallery) and Julia Schmelzer (PYLON), unite with Carla Gannis, Mohsen Hazrati and Christopher Meerdo in the synthesis gallery’s Mozilla Hubs virtual space.
Is every random bit and piece of digitized information, shared online libraries, social media platforms and our multimedia-pervaded life automatically contributing to a global internet archive, creating a massive indiscernible/latent collective memory? How will the future derive meaning and memory from this plethora? Considering the consequences of endlessly feeding the algorithm with personal, factual, and sometimes false information, RECOLLECTING FUTURES interrogates the methods and structures of how we archive and access information.
Carla Gannis’ wwwunderkammer is an ongoing project positioning information for the future into a living archive: with a cascading group of hubs, Gannis queries what is the method and potential of an immersive virtual archive, a dynamic evolving space that welcomes live interactions while hosting records, data, and stories of things past.
Mohsen Hazrati’s Repetitious Redundancies hub explores how we derive meaning from words and the significance of relational interaction. In a dynamic series of virtual spaces, Hazrati emphasizes the derivative nature of finding meaning. Calling everything a genitive case, Hazrati explores artefact vs. symbol with personal experiences serving as a proxy in order to convey and convert information.
Christopher Meerdo’s work The Search question power structures of the visibility and accessibility of information and its dissection as well as representation. By means of expanded photographic methodologies of data processing, imagesynthesis, computational sculpture and moving images, Meerdo references data archives as active sites.
The artistic positions of the exhibition implicate questions of what and why something is preserved. Considering the agency of every participant – object or subject – within the dynamic webs of information and data exchange, the artists collectively envision new strategies for memory processing and future forms of repositories.
Every piece of information is a piece of a bigger picture – a big infinite puzzle that remains unfinished, or rather one that is constantly becoming a future to be re-collected.
Carla Gannis (b. 1970, USA, https://www.carlagannis.com) is an interdisciplinary artist based in Brooklyn, New York. She produces works that consider the uncanny complications between grounded and virtual reality, nature and artifice, science and science fiction in contemporary culture. Gannis’ work has appeared in exhibitions, screenings and internet projects across the globe. Currently, she is Industry Professor at New York University (NYU) in the Integrated Digital Media Program, Department of Technology, Culture and Society.
Mohsen Hazrati (b. 1987, Iran, http://mohsenhazrati.com) focuses on digital culture and New Aesthetics, positioning connections to Shirazi culture and Iranian mystical literature. Recent exhibitions include UCL MAL, Los Angeles; Transfer Gallery, Los Angeles; Babycastles Gallery, New York; Telematic Media Arts, San Francisco and SUPERHIGHWAY 2020. He is currently a member of the Digital Art Fellowship program at Akademie Schloss Solitude.
Christopher Meerdo (b. 1981, USA, https://www.meerd.ooo) received his MFA in Photograph from the University of Illinois at Chicago, taught at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago from 2012-2019, and was recently appointed Assistant Professor of Photography and New Media at the University of North Texas. Recent exhibitions include Exgirlfriend Gallery, Berlin; Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; The National Gallery of Kosovo, Pristina; and the Mattress factory Museum of Contemporary Art, Pittsburg.
PYLON (https://pylon-hub.com) is a hybrid platform of art space and online archive that encourages audiences to engage with experimental approaches of contemporary art in a digitizing time and society. PYLON showcases curated media and time based artworks in physical exhibitions and supports the understanding of cutting-edge contemporary art practice.
synthesis gallery is the leading VR-based art gallery: an immersive blend of technology and art displayed under one roof, showcasing cutting-edge experiences by new wave artists and visionaries through virtual reality. Pieces are displayed through different media. Tangible and traditional art forms intermingle with Oculus and Vive headsets. synthesis is dedicated to exhibiting internationally renowned, well-established artists alongside emerging ones.