Saturday, May 23, 2015

"Obedience" an artwork opening at the Jüdisches Museum in Berlin

     Opening yesterday is a hybrid art
exhibition showing both at the Jüdisches Museum in Berlin as well as in the virtual environment of Second Life. It will run until September 13th 2015 in both our virtual world on LEA 1 and at the Museum. The virtual space, as seen in the trailer, was created by myself and Jo Ellsmere.  Jo's work is the wonderful bot performances you will find in the God room towards the end.   The immersive space we have created is being shown on monitors within the Museum thus allowing the guests to navigate the 3D space as part of the overall Museum installation which was the creation of Saskia Boddeke and European director Peter Greenaway.

      This is a very important exhibition in that it is a high profile use of Second Life as an artistic medium and its mere presence within a Museum of this caliber legitimizes the virtual space as an art medium for some, who before now may not have associated it in this way.  Credit for this should be given to both Saskia and Peter who are staunch supporters and believers in this medium, they could easily have created the work without using the virtual space yet pushed the idea on the Museum directors and have them interested as well.
     The story for the exhibition is that of Abraham and Isaak from the Bible.  The Museum space is made up of 15 rooms and reflects on the narrative in a macro viewpoint.  The Second Life portion is a micro viewpoint I created which is a modernized retelling of the story.  My intention was to see how we may interpret the actions if they were slightly altered and presented in a way that is more familiar to the average person, perhaps removing some of the abstraction and distancing we may get from being unable to fully associate with the characters involved.  For example does our perception change if God speaks to Abraham through the flickering images of a TV set late at night?  I wanted to show the relationship, the deep love and bond between a Father and son, then juxtapose that against a command by God for that Father to kill his son as a sacrifice.  God prevents Abraham from killing his son, but what happens once Gods presence has withdrawn after testing Abraham's faith?  How might the moments go when Abraham and Isaak are now alone and words are needed to explain?  I think it is healthy to change the perspective from which we view things and hopefully the exhibit will encourage discourse and debate for those who experience it.  It will of course make some people grumpy as it relates to the touchy subject of Religion, and I have used some artistic license to portray figures in ways that might not be appreciated, such as covering Gods four angels who surround him with camera lenses rather than the endless eyes as described in Revelations.  But it reflects the monitoring we have in our societies, in fact I expect if I walked out my door right now I could very well be recorded on some type of surveillance.  God's angels are described as being covered by eyes and to me that suggests that God sees all and is an acceptable parallel to create.  Anyway you will see.
   When I get some images of the Museum location I will do another post and speak in greater detail of the project.  The SLURL is here and you will need to set up the viewer almost the same as in the Singularity of Kumiko (the directions are at the landing point)  Phototools - No Light and the shadows with projectors.. you will remember.  The number of avatars permitted on the region is limited.
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