Three weeks ago, after some soul searching on our part, we chose to forego our planned programming in solidarity with the civil unrest in America and Black Lives Matter. We have been so deeply shaken by these current events that we decided that it was inappropriate to engage in providing content that could potentially distract anyone from what was happening. Therefore, the planned walkthrough with Armin Keplinger was cancelled – instead, we broadcasted a black screen with a list of charities related to Black Lives Matter. As the protests unfolded everywhere in the world and grew in numbers exponentially, we have been thinking of meaningful ways to bring our small contribution to the cause. A few days ago, we had a chat over Instagram Live with Alda Boyd - a 21-year-old Nigerian-American artist with a creative background in technology whose art is centered around emotion, connectivity, racial representation and futurism. Over the next few weeks, we are excited to present ‘Black Movement Project’ and ‘Clarity’ by LaJuné McMillian along with the cancelled – yet once planned - walkthrough with Armin Keplinger.
With many of us still stuck home, Zoom taking over most of our social life and the art world going digital, we long to create a virtual ecosystem that keeps on feeding our creativity and frees us from tension and stress. Now more than ever, we think it is important to stay connected, creative and get inspired. Walkthroughs is our response to the current challenging times: VR art live streamed through the artist's eyes. A weekly meetup happening safely online with curators joining the conversation and creatives that, in turn, put the headset on, share their screen and walk us through the VR work. The walkthroughs focus on providing an overview of the artist’s creative process and insights into the work as heard from the artists themselves, as they walk us through it.
Live stream on Facebook (synthesis gallery)
June 26th, 6pm CEST LaJuné McMillian in conversation with Marguerite Hemmings (performance artist and educator)
For Walkthroughs, LaJuné McMillian presents the ‘Black Movement Project’ and her latest interactive VR fatigue ‘Clarity’ . ‘Black Movement Project’ (BMP) is an online database of motion capture data from black performers and black character base models, currently underrepresented in available online databases. This library is used for various extended (virtual, augmented, mixed) reality projects, performances, games, and research purposes. BMP is a tool for activists, performers & artists to create diverse XR projects, a space to research how and why we move, and an archive of black existence. BMP incorporates a narrative component to be seen as both a live performance and Web VR docuseries, showing how black movement has been used as a tool for the preservation of black culture as well as a vehicle self-evolution. In ‘Clarity’ an anonymous, genderless, beautifully complex humanoid lives in organic symbiosis with his natural environment, moving gracefully within, creating boundless kinetic energy.
LAJUNÉ MCMILLIAN (b. 1992, USA, https://laja.me) is a new media artist, maker, and creative technologist based in New York. McMillian is dedicated to making art abstracted from her personal experiences. She has created pieces that integrate performance, virtual reality, and physical computing to question our current use of technology and forms of communication. McMillian’s artistic practice is centered around creating technology and mediums that are inherently intersectional allowing communities that have been ignored to have a space to be recognized, loved, accepted, and heard. LaJuné McMillian has been exhibiting and speaking about her work at Dance on Camera at Lincoln Center, MakerFaire, National Sawdust, Liberty Science Center, Chelsea Film Festival, Creative Tech Week and Weird Reality (USA).
July 6th, 6pm CEST Armin Keplinger in conversation with George Vitale (Director - synthesis)
synthesis artist Armin Keplinger has, in his practice, consistently focused on the transitional moment of materials as they change state of aggregation to a solid, liquid, or aerial one. During recent years, Keplinger has increasingly concentrated his artistic practice on the intersection of the analogue with the virtual space, with special emphasis on Virtual Reality. For Walkthroughs, Keplinger presents ‘A/Bruteforce’ and ‘ms-R’. In the apocalyptic ‘A/Bruteforce’ (a work by the artist duo A/A - Andreas Greiner/Armin Keplinger), the viewer is slowly approached and engulfed by a black cloud of dust and detritus. ‘ms-R’ features a moon-sliced ring with zero latitude. As the ring moves slowly in a circle around the participant’s view with subtle light and movements, ‘ms-R’ aims to send the viewer on a journey to black-ended spaces.
ARMIN KEPLINGER (b. 1982, AUT, https://www.arminkeplinger.com/) is an artist with focus on digital image creation and state of art CGI techniques. In his practice, Keplinger explores the interaction between digital and physical spaces as well as the split between different stages of time. His video artworks, sculptures and installations have been exhibited at Winzavod Moscow Contemporary Art Center, Opera National de Paris, Saatchi Gallery and Hessel Museum of Art among other ones.
synthesis gallery is the leading VR-based art gallery: an immersive blend of technology and art displayed under one roof, showcasing cutting-edge experiences by new wave artists and visionaries through virtual reality. Founded in New York in October 2017 by George Vitale, the gallery opened its doors to the public in April 2018 in Berlin. Pieces are displayed through different media. Tangible and traditional art forms intermingle with Oculus and Vive headsets. Dedicated to exhibiting internationally renowned, well-established artists alongside emerging ones, since its inception, synthesis has garnered considerable attention in the art scene.