Gazelli Art House is pleased to present Enter Through the Headset 3 (2018). The exhibition will showcase four artists working within the medium of virtual reality (VR) who have also been previous residents of ‘Gazell.io’ – the gallery’s month long online residency that runs alongside the gallery’s exhibition program. Gazell.io is an innovative digital platform, which embodies the gallery’s commitment to digital art, interactivity and education.
Michael Takeo Magruder, Eran Tsafrir, Mbryonic (Tom Szirtes & Xan Adderley) with Xavier Sole and CiR- CA69 (Simon Wilkinson) will all have profound and cutting edge VR works on display. Drawing on themes of sustainability, truth and our human effect on society, these works are completely immersive with carefully created artistic environments, moving image and sound. The lines between art and reality become effortlessly blurred to engage the viewer through all senses simultaneously.
A New Jerusalem by Michael Takeo Magruder takes inspiration from the biblical text of the Book of Revelation. Using the virtual environment, the artist has created a beautiful metropolis that is based upon the ancient architectural descriptions of the prophesised city combined with Google Maps data from the present-day Jerusalem. Viewers can experience the illuminated city from multiple perspectives in ways that relate to Revelation’s narratives of salvation and unveiling. Within this context, the work asks us to contemplate why we should care about our present society and environment if promises of 'a new heaven and a new earth' (Rev. 21.1) await us.
A New Jerusalem is a major part of Takeo’s acclaimed solo exhibition De/coding the Apocalypse (2014, Somerset House, London) and has been showcased in numerous international exhibitions, most recently in And I will Take You to Paradise (2018) at Art Museum KUBE in Norway. The work has received several international accolades including the Lumen Prize Immersive Environments Award and the Bogdanka Poznanovic Award for best media installation, both in 2015.
/sa:m/ [Psalm.] by Eran Tsafrir is an immersive VR, MR and 360° sound artwork that was developed during the artist’s residency at Gazell.io in January this year.
The artwork responds to the deployment of technology and digital aesthetics to influence, shape and manipulate beliefs. As the artist explains, 'appeal to emotion and personal belief, and the dismissal of objective truths, are the hallmark of the politics of our time, and a powerful tool in the dissemination of propaganda. Muddling the boundaries between fact and fiction compromise our ability to make decisions on sound foundation, ultimately undermining the very idea of freedom.'
/sa:m/ [Psalm.] is part of a thematic project called /’haS tag/ [#ashtag.], which looks at the use and misuse of technology in politics, activism and protest, and marks the inauguration of a [futuristic] protest faith movement that deploys digital aesthetics in its evolution.
/sa:m/ [Psalm.] incorporates a technologically advanced 360° sound technology developed by a team of researchers at Kings’ College London, and a ground-breaking hologram mixed-reality capturing system, HoloPortalTM, developed by technology venture ‘DoubleMe’ at Ravensbourne University.
The design studio Mbryonic connects artists and audiences in new engaging ways through virtual and augmented realities. Collaborating with visual artist Xavier Sole, they examine the playfulness between satire and technology while also inviting their viewers to engage with dark pleasures that are cathartic and humorous. Two VR works that will be on display include Appropriation and Sunfollowers.
Appropriation is an ongoing project that utilises famous spaces, such as the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern in this case, in order to expand the viewer’s imagination and our commonly accepted truths. The Turbine Hall was an industrial space but is now a consecrated one, that is a vital part of the context. What if the roof of the Tate were to fly off? Collapse? Burn? This work entitled, The Sleep of Reason Still Produces Monsters is inspired by three works of Francisco Goya’s: The Hill of San Isidro, The Pilgrimage of San Isidro, and The Great He-Goat. In it the audience witnesses a surreal celebration party of decapitated heads, which evolves and descends into an a ressive assault on the senses.
Sunfollowers is the second work on display from Mbryonic and Xavier Sole. Here, the viewer finds themselves in the middle of a beautiful and lush sunflower field. The relationship between the sun and field are rapidly changing, as the sun burns brighter and stronger with every second. The metaphor of the relationship between followers and followed has clear political resonance. Who is the influencer and who is the influenced? Questions of the relationship between independence and responsibility come up and make us critique how we inhabit our own world.
The Third Day by CiRCA69, the company of artist Simon Wilkinson, is another ongoing project comprising of a novel and a collection of virtual reality installations. As the VR work is being experienced and the novel is being narrated - there is an interplay happening between the third person experience of the story and fictional characters beside the first person experience through the VR. The work was instigated as part of a residency at Cambridge University’s Leverhume Centre for the Future of Intelligence in June 2017.
'In its third year, the exhibition Enter Through the Headset is becoming our way of identifying key artists working in virtual reality. It is exciting to see this medium accepted within the arts, going beyond the gaming industry.'
-Mila Askarova, Founding Director of Gazelli Art House
Through Gazell.io, Gazelli Art House is devoted to being at the forefront of technology and art – consistently fostering innovative talent and helping to merge virtual and physical gallery spaces.
Continuing throughout the year long exhibition program, Gazell.io has monthly online residencies that can be accessed from a desktop, mobile and in the Gazelli Art House gallery.
About the Artists
Michael Takeo Magruder is a visual artist and researcher who works with new media including real-time data, digital archives, immersive environments, mobile devices and virtual worlds. His practice explores concepts ranging from media criticism and aesthetic journalism to digital formalism and computational aesthetics, deploying Information Age technologies and systems to examine our networked, media-rich world.
Eran Tsafrir is a visual artist who explores thematic projects which examine the ideas of obedience, disobedience, political choice and protest (manifestations, aesthetics and limits). They offer a glimpse into the complexities of prevailing man-made systems and structures and our role in their construction, development and destruction. Immersive and multi-layered, Tsafrir’s work o ers a poetic space for reflection and serves as a slow burning catalyst for transformation and change.
Xavier Sole is a visual artist whose latest work is highly inspired by Goya. His practice is focused on the study of playfulness and its relation with satire and technology. Through nasty interactions, Xavier Sole invites the audience to engage with dark pleasures in cathartic, humoristic experiences.
Mbryonic is a design studio run by Tom Szirtes and Xander Adderley. Mbryonic’s interest is connecting artists and audiences in new engaging ways through virtual and augmented realities. Tom Szirtes and Xavier Sole met at Fish Island Labs, the digital art incubator programme run by Barbican and The Trampery.
The work of Simon Wilkinson [CiRCA69] incorporates audiovisual, installation, VR, AR, Ai, electronic music, online and performance mediums; often combining multiple approaches simultaneously to create highly immersive narrative environments which invite prolonged audience engagement. His work has been featured at Tate Modern and regularly tours internationally with his most recently completed collection of virtual reality installations Whilst The Rest Were Sleeping enjoying a 20 nation world tour across six continents throughout 2016–2017.
Press release courtesy Gazelli Art House.