“Long before the Corona crisis broke out, I asked curator Mattis Kuhn to develop the exhibition How to Make a Paradise – Seduction and Dependence in Generated Worlds. It’s almost uncanny how the theme now appears in a new light in view of the current situation. The show thematizes the tension between the digital worlds as the place where our wishes are fulfilled and on the other hand as an abstract space in which we limit ourselves.”
–Franziska Nori, Director Frankfurter Kunstverein
Paradises evokes notions of fulfilment and longing. Longing for that which is far off, for beauty, for an effortless existence. Digital gadgets are accessible anytime, anywhere. They promise expansion of our comfort zone. They whisk us away from the here and now. They take us into worlds whose surface appearance is adaptable to our wishes. Playful, user-friendly and with a soft-toned voice, they help us effortlessly through everyday life.
Retreat into digital paradises and controllable worlds is one pole, constant optimization of the physical is the other. However, the subliminal inherent themes in almost all of the works are isolation and doom scenarios. The desire for control through digital instruments and applications continually filters through. The longing for comfortable, iridescent worlds can be traced through the exhibition.
The omnipresence of digital images asserting their own reality through flawless surface appearance reinforces the desire for individual self-optimization. We reflect ourselves in the digital plane. We continue to optimise our skills, our self and our individual world. In our individual paradise we yearn for seduction and the experience of closeness without intimacy, of excitement without consequence. With a digital body as an artificial manifestation of our staged self, we move through the matrix of the digital world in search of recognition and self-assurance through likes from online communities.
A second focus of the exhibition is the use and effects of artificial intelligence. So that digital assistants can respond to a clap of the hands or a swipe of a finger, the globe is spanned by a powerful infrastructure of satellites, underground cables, databases and server farms operated by a handful of global corporations. These services use energy, raw materials and underpaid labor; but provide quick access that satisfies our immediate desires. Artificial intelligence, robotics and virtual reality promise an alternative, extended experience of the world without analog burdens. Solutions optimised by technology are seemingly free of human error.
Under the exhibition title How to Make a Paradise Frankfurter Kunstverein has invited nine artists and collectives to present a broad spectrum of artistic projects dealing with the human desire for digital escapism, and the aspiration to expand human capabilities with technology. Curated by Mattis Kuhn with the support of Franziska Nori, the exhibition includes multimedia installations, digital films and VR experiences.