Hyperlinks are noticeably absent from Instagram and Snapchat, and subject to Facebook and Twitter’s algorithms and viral culture, but they are still a powerful mechanism of decentralized learning and cyber-exploration. In the exhibition TRANSFER Download, a pop-up now at The Current Museum of Art in New York City, the hyperlink serves as the conceptual format and container for a number of video installations by Eva Papamargariti, Sabrina Ratté, the influential Russian video collective AES+F.
TRANSFER Gallery’s Kelani Nichole first developed TRANSFER Download this summer in San Francisco at Minnesota Street Project with collaborator Harvey Moon. The idea was to present a large-format, fully immersive experience as a layered, hyperlinked salon-style installation in order to survey a lot of work in one physical space. Like the San Francisco edition of Download, the New York pop-up features no works hung on the walls, but multiple pieces layered to create one virtual space.
“The pop-up is a collaboration with The Current, a new institution in support of digital art, who invited me to pop-up as part of their first event,” Nichole tells The Creators Project. “We are like-minded organizations thinking about new ways to support collection and preservation of these formats.”
Nichole invited artists to create a solo presentation of work that includes a variety of media formats from 4K, algorithmic video, 3D animation, animated GIF, to web-based artwork, and VR. She wanted the exhibition to point to a multiplicity of formats that create “a stunning physical installation that can put a viewer in touch with many new forms of artmaking in one space.”
“Each piece plays across all three channels,” Nichole explains. “And there is a control that allows the viewer to switch between pieces, changing over the entire space to feature a new work.”
The NYC playlist, according to Nichole, is more powerful than the first showing in San Francisco, with several intense pieces. One of the new works is by Eva Papamargariti, who adapted her single-channel work, Prosomiosis, for the space, a bewitching and disorientingly hallucinatory trip through the patterns, geometries and objects found in a virtual ecosystem.
Nichole also thumbs Sabrina Ratté’s new sculpted 3D environment Plaza Concrète as particularly intense. Using analog and digital technologies, Ratté creates a series of hallways generated by electronic signals that melt and shift in various ways.
The Russian video and art AES+F have been around for over two decades, but a quick glance at their work proves that they’re still dynamic creators. For Download, the crew offered up one of their EPIC sagas in trailer format, Last Riot. A three-channel video made in 2007, Last Riot is something like speculative fiction, in which the new heroes were the participants in the “last riot” that ended ideology, history and ethics, destroying all sorts of binaries like male and female and victim and aggressor.
Some of the videos in the NYC Download carried over from the San Francisco edition. One of the most mind-bending of this group is Rosa Menkman's trailer for her VR piece DCT: Syphoning. Inspired by Edwin Abbot’s Flatland, a novella of multiple dimensions, DCT: Syphoning is the story of a father who introduces his son to various types of compression. There are also pieces by Claudia Hart, Phillip Stearns, Rollin Leonard and LaTurbo Avedon.
“I love the story of the Download as aligning with experimental art spaces and using the format to tell a story about developing media and creating impactful physical encounters with distributed artworks,” says Nichole.
While the hyperlinked format of Download is a unique presentation and reimagining of the gallery space, it’s also a great crash course in video formats. And for the uninitiated, Download it is a solid introduction to the talented artists working in these various new media.