2020-09-23

A walk through the exhibition “Netz Werke”

Netz Werke

Photo Credits: re:publica/Gregor Fischer

We enter the #rpCampus hall and see a roundabout flanked on both sides by space-consuming sculptures. First, we take the path to our right into the "Post Virtual Garden"(20) and stroll along abstract forms referring to a contemporary digital subculture. Next, we pass "Ok Doomer"(21), a work in which generational conflicts are revealed, and "MEMERSFORFUTURE"(23), which deals with the critical use and exploitation of viral and mimetic content.

When we enter the roundabout, the happy, sad or angry monkey faces from "Neural Net Play"(1) greet us, while the artificial intelligence using state-of-the-art technology tries to find out which species we belong to and calculates our "happiness factor". Birk Schmithuesen's "SpecuativeAI/Exp. #2 (conversation)"(5) is at the centre of this part of the exhibition: two artificial intelligences that scan and "talk" with their sensors

On the right side, no step, no movement stays unseen. On two large-format screens  "Overgrowth"(16) and "Virtual Materialism"(14) show us the effects of our actions on our world, while our movements and facial expressions don’t stay hidden from "Portrait"(13). As in Oscar Wilde's famous novel “The Picture of Dorian Gray”, the initially graceful face distorts to a grotesque in an attempt to imitate our face."Encouter"(12) on the other hand literally literally holds up a mirror to us.  Whether playful, droll, thoughtful or grotesque – all the works deal with face and body recognition but the property right to the image only becomes an issue in "§54"(15). And even here the legal text claiming universal validity is provocatively unsatisfactory!

In the back of the roundabout on the right „Frau Tikashi“(17) invites you to play tetris. However, this only works through teamwork with other players and real physical effort.“Krone kommentiert”(19) shows us how fragile and hostile our connected world can be. At this station, user comments deleted by the editorial staff of the Austrian tabloid "Krone" are printed out in real time, impressively highlighting the dissonance that is formed in echo chambers. "Fragile"(18) on the other hand, seems like a testimony to an "on demand economy". The scratching and knocking that can be heard from inside the sculpture seems to call out to us: "Think outside the box!

The motto on the opposite side of the exhibition is "Tech for Good". Here we find exhibits of our long-standing cooperation partners and friends "Carebles"(7) and Wikimedia with their "data pump"(10).

Passing “AIOT - Artificial Intelligence x Internet of Things”(6), an attempt to make connected things speak, we are leaving the roundabout and entering “Walk your day x The new nature”(4). This is a part of the exhibition which can be brought to life by our smart phone. In addition, the posters of the “Gender Equality”(3) exhibition visualize augmented reality – they wake us up, sometimes atmospheric, sometimes informative. Thematically they are complemented by the social media collage “BLACKLIVESMATTER”(23).

Once more before the exit we pause. "O.T. 1010"(24) reminds us of an oversized Mikado game. Can it be disentangled by different perspectives?

Which path will you take to explore the exhibition "Netz Werke"?