She-ra_est3.0 * it is the goal of the game to crash it *_stop!
2017, exhibition by Hidéo Snes and Katrin Waidhofer at artspace JUSTICE, Vienna.
Exhibition concept of She-Ra_est3.0:
An exhibition space is not made of absorbent cotton, its edges are solid, its colors are bright. It tells a story about its capacity. Although it seems endless, it folds into a Möbius strip. Of words, of words, of objects. Onions stratifying a tower to Babylon.
The fusion of closed worlds – in this case, the fusion of analog and digital perspectives – as a result it seems to be an effective means of resisting indoctrination by the art establishment. Both in terms of individual growth and in terms of fostering new synergies.
The squiggly object created by inscribing word upon word is at odds with pure chance. It attempts to escape a pompous space that is inexorably purposeless. The object becomes aware of its own materiality and structure. It develops a novel, self-referential perspective.
She-Ra_est3.0 was an early attempt at deconstructing space. At asking the overtly primitivistic question about what ‘volume‘ actually stands for.
In the beginning, there was a question – or perhaps it was rather a need – to consider the white cube as a kind of shelter. In which a break with the past can be made. The place in which a succession of loose patches can build a momentum of freedom. One that can lead to breaking with tradition. One that may lead to doing something we wouldn’t normally do.
What do artists see?
With what gaze do they concretize their subjective reality. Or to put it bluntly, what do they recognize and what remains unseen? Where do they recognize ‘originality’? How do they classify aesthetic unaffectedness and where is it not recognized. How is it appropriated and where is it not?
An artistic confrontation demands a vis-á-vis. The other that opens up new perspectives. A series of viewpoints where both sides are ready to defend their respective opinions, but also to overthrow when an argument is stronger. The discussion becomes a game of ping-pong and both players try to keep the ball in play as long as possible.
Drifting with winds – a gendered love story.
This version of the computer game Drifting With Winds lets recipients fly a digital kite. As a computer game, installation, and performance, the project aims to explore the boundary between real, virtual, and digital reality and its influence on the self-perception of the people experiencing the performance.
Creating a computer game that seems to be problematically defined in itself and in its medium struck me as an exciting yet uncanny metaphor for an artwork with gender relevance. It is a fully functional, self-contained, digital system with randomized physics such as wind, light, and gravity. Since the installation, or machine, is procedurally generated, it takes on a life of its own until input is received from the outside. Once a player takes action, he or she plays the avatar flying a kite – a motion-capture recording of myself doing what I like to call Alien Drag, a continuation of my earlier artistic work as a performer whose actions are firmly influenced by virtual physics. At this point, zhe is tasked with exploring the world and its particular rules in order to win the game by “breaking” it.
Breaking the game to win it:
One such winning scenario is destroying the tether between the penis-shaped dragon and the avatar. This leads to the descent into a bottomless pit of a genderless state of transcendence. However, there are many hidden functionalities that clearly and visibly distinguish the game world, this digital reality, from our personal reality. It results in a shift that subverts the notion of identity. As such, one that is necessarily inextricably intertwined with one’s gender. This shift is reinforced by the user interface: the game can be played exclusively with a simple computer mouse. Each player is tasked with using their own body as a mouse pad to interpret either their environment or their distinct physical state as input. Their imagination and experience of their materialized physical identity becomes a reality. Albeit a virtual digital one. Their characteristic performativity becomes an instance of exploration and self-directed applicability at the same time.