I received an invitation from my good friend and artist Myth Guyot to the "My Private Supermarket" Multimedia Installation exhibition. If only TP's worked in RL. The exhibition is in Frankfort, Germany. It's a town I'd visited in RL, three times while on business and I've yet to run into a glass of beer I hadn't liked. Sorry for the slight digression, most people know me as a scotch drinker but I do enjoy a cold beer every now and then, especially when visiting or working in Germany.
So, back to the exhibition, which has already opened is located at Gallery Eulengasse 65 . 60385 Frankfurt, Germany, and began on the 8th of August and runs through the 24th with the Finissage and presentation of the catalogue on Sunday the 24th of August 2008, 3 - 7 pm (2 – 6 PM GMT)
Haike Rausch (Laksmi Giha) and Torsten Grosch (Myth Guyot) work together on art projects under the name of 431art in both real and second life. I've written about the Amazing Maze (SL Newspaper) they'd created at their site in SL and about their Machinima film "Walk to Elea!" in Lane's List. Later today, at the exhibition, video and Machinima short films by 431art will begin at 9:00 PM on the 15th of August (8:00 PM GMT).
Myth was kind enough to offer me the following translation about "431art" and the exhibit by Martin Doll, Media critic:
Haike Rausch and Torsten Grosch have been working together on art projects under the name of 431art for more than ten years. They understand their work as experiencing the phenomena and proceedings of nature, work situations and everyday political - social realities. Through their estrangement of the common view, their gaze on familiar objects breaks the habitual patterns of perception. In so doing; they take away the supposed inherent quality, of being real, from what is considered self-evident.
As prowlers between the different expressions of art, 431art often blurs aesthetic reception. They play with different categories of work often irritates the observer, the spectator experiences estrangement, an inability to classify, a puzzlement of everyday phenomena, experienced now as something new and totally different in the form of an art work.
In individual art shows the confrontation between graphic, photographic, film and sonographic elements is for example expressed by oscillating between these various forms of artistic expressions. Graphic art serves alternatively as standalone pieces, sketches of conceptual works or merely as descriptive panels. This creates a very vivid dialogue with the viewer and the objects on display.
In instances where Grosch and Rausch allow their artistic exploits to be experiment instructions, as seen in the concept for Ripenings, their art is turned into an experiment between science and non-science. Or rather between science and art. In this particular concept they explore the effect musical waves have on the growth of bean sprouts.
This experiment, which likely has its professional sceptics, aims to be a challenge to the logical and rational thought processes, it understands itself to be a provocation to the positivistic methods taken to explain our world. The demarcation line between art and science illustrates the very potential the ephemeral offers; the resounding, the wave, in so doing it sensitizes the observer to a scientific-artistic way of looking at the transient. In this sense the results of this experiment are not only natural science relevant but they also have dual impact as an artistic and tactile sensation. This form of aesthetic construction of the non-material is undertaken in; I'll be your substitute whenever you want me – an art project in the virtual space of Second life. In an age where seemingly everything can be digitalized (from human interaction all the way to very private spheres of reality) 431art tackles the way we perceive reality and identity.
The virtual environment combines Plato's allegory of the cave – the classical western philosophical image, which encapsulates the dilemma, between being and appearance – through the visualisation of labyrinthine formations. The tension between immersion and distance has an epistemological implication for the virtual and the supposedly real plain of perception. The structure of the work itself is a labyrinth, which mixes up various levels of real life representation. The aesthetic interferences between audio, video, the source code of the first Second Life Viewers, the avatar and the observer, sitting at his or her computer, creates a metaphorical field of analysis for the questions of authorship and personality, within an online existence. In this dense matrix the user must grapple, in his quest for a stable identity, with mirror images of himself and his environment. Confronted with a virtual doppelganger and the software created environment the user is directed towards cognition of the entire digital parallel universe.
With My private supermarket 431art opened a small shop, in the display window a shelf with jam jars was on show. The exhibition room at first glance seems to be a mixture between a modern convenient store and a quaint corner store. However upon closer inspection it becomes obvious that the goods on offer are by no means limited to commodities. On one wall cryptic handwritten texts are projected, show cases featuring butterflies with rather strange costumes of interwoven typographic structures. A video screen shows a bumblebee, as it assiduously flies from blossom to blossom ticking off it's shopping list. Even the jars on offer contain everything but ordinary jams. The labels on the jars do not only give information about their contents but additionally allude to the methods and essence in which the contents were harvested: Happiness-Harvest, Spontaneous-Harvest, spontaneous planned harvest, coincidentally saved harvest, intuitive harvest.
My private supermarket moves at the same time between various different subject fields. The various exhibits, with their different thematic aspects, cover the length and breath of today's marketplace with its organic food and to a large extent the lost culture of self-reliance. It picks up on the increased homogenization of the world of commodities, the loss of small individual shops and finally with the gathering as a leisure activity the means of survival. The strange labels do not, as is common practice, tell of the final product but instead tell the observer about instances of intuition, spontaneity and chance, which have determined the contents of the jars. On a different level of introspection within the institution of art, the question is raised - is there a reciprocal relationship between artifacts that are for sale and if so, what is the relevance of process and experimental projects. Accordingly 431art "leaves" the exhibition space by unexpectedly accosting the public in the social services office across the road where the only commodities that are not for sale are offered to the visitors in the form of jam-spread bread. Due to this temporary intervention of a kind of non-place, the socially regulated care system is confronted with the unconditional art of giving.
In their exhibition as with many other projects of 431art the ephemeral is stressed –consequently following through the orders of management – by the subsequent closure of the shop. However the vernissage is not the beginning of an insolvency case, but rather a catalogue in which all the stores goods are contained which will retrospectively still be available.