The EU project Beyond Matter: Cultural Heritage on the Verge of Virtual Reality researches ways to re-experience past exhibitions using digital and spatial modeling methods. The exhibition Matter. Non-Matter. Anti-Matter. presents the current state of the research project at ZKM | Karlsruhe.
At the core of the event is the digital revival of the iconic exhibitions Les Immatériaux of the Centre Pompidou Paris in 1985 and Iconoclash: Beyond the Image Wars in Science, Religion, and Art of the ZKM | Karlsruhe in 2002.
Based on the case studies of Les Immatériaux (Centre Pompidou, 1985) and Iconoclash: Beyond the Image Wars in Science, Religion, and Art (ZKM, 2002), ZKM | Karlsruhe and the Centre Pompidou Paris investigate possibilities of reviving exhibitions through experiential methods of digital and spatial modeling. Central to this is also the question of the particular materiality of the digital.
At the heart of the Paris exhibition Les Immatériaux in the mid-1980s was the question of what impact new technologies and materials could have on artistic practice. When philosopher Jean-François Lyotard joined as cocurator, the project’s focus eventually shifted to exploring the changes in the postmodern world that were driven by a flood of new technologies.
The exhibition Iconoclash at ZKM | Karlsruhe focused on the theme of representation and its multiple forms of expression, as well as the social turbulence it generates. As emphasized by curators Bruno Latour and Peter Weibel, the exhibition was not intended to be iconoclastic in its approach, but rather to present a synopsis of scholarly exhibits, documents, and artworks about iconoclasms – a thought experiment that took the form of an exhibition – a so-called “thought exhibition.”
Matter. Non-Matter. Anti-Matter. now presents in the 21st century the digital models of the two projects on the Immaterial Display, hardware that has been specially developed for exploring virtual exhibitions. On view are artworks and artifacts from the past exhibitions, as well as contemporary reflections and artworks created or expanded for this exhibition. These include works by Jeremy Bailey, damjanski, fabric|ch, Geraldine Juárez, Carolyn Kirschner, and Anne Le Troter that echo the 3D models of the two landmark exhibitions. They bear witness to the current digitization trend in the production, collection, and presentation of art.
Case studies and examples of the application of digital curatorial reconstruction techniques that were created as part of the Beyond Matter project complement the presentation.
After the exhibition ends at the ZKM, a new edition of Matter. Non-Matter. Anti-Matter. will be on view at the Centre Pompidou in Paris from May to July 2023.