In his 1994 book Hyperspace: A Scientific Odyssey Through Parallel Universes, Time Warps, and the 10th Dimension, the physicist Michio Kaku draws an arresting metaphor between how people and carps in a pond perceive the physical world around them – the existence of other worlds, spaces and realities is not limited to tangible elements that can be seen or touched. The artists in the exhibition explore the possibilities of multiple realities through self-reflection, political hyperboles, and virtual power dynamics.
Hittmeier approaches digital space as a vacuum—one predicated on infinite direction, scale, time and potential. In his video Lead-Based he stages a forensic scene asking the viewer to confront dangerous idealism, while embracing architectural spectacle. The work oscillates between self-defeat and victory in an attempt to reconcile mankind’s seemingly innate desire for dominance.
In his VR installation Physical Capacity Timofeev ask his participants to crawl around the floor within the allocated physical boundaries, while the virtual environment transforms into a labyrinth populated by an increasing number of cockroaches. The cockroaches respond to the participants’ gaze, triggering a pattern recognition game of color and sound, which the participants can choose to engage with or ignore. The architecture of the VR coerces participants to physically move between the virtual walls using their bodies, in turn imitating the randomized movements of the cockroaches.
In his game and VR installation Tey al-Tool, Hazrati presents an ongoing digital self-portrait by creating virtual 3-D worlds based on his experience of working with computer software. Tey al-Tool is a similar word to Tay al-Arz (Tool meaning “length” and Arz meaning “world and width” in Persian). Tay al-Tarz means the folding up of the earth or covering long distances in a blink of an eye. It is the name for teleportation in the mystical form of Islamic religious and philosophical tradition. The concept has been expressed as “traversing the earth without moving.”
“Man has gone out to explore other worlds and other civilizations without having explored his own labyrinth of dark passages and secret chambers, and without finding what lies behind doorways that he himself has sealed.”- Stanislaw Lem
“I often think that we are like the carp swimming contentedly in that pond. We live out our lives in our own “pond,” confident that our universe consists of only the familiar and the visible.” – Michio Kaku